Whitewater rafting firms wrestle to remain afloat throughout coronavirus pandemic
RINCONADA, N.M. — COVID-19 has some companies looking forward to the autumn and winter to hopefully make up for misplaced gross sales. Nonetheless, some seasonal jobs, like whitewater rafting, depend on summer time success, and it seems many all through the Southwest are all caught in the identical boat.
“It’s been a anxious season, you understand? It’s exhausting, not solely following all of the protocols and attempting to maintain folks secure, however simply understanding that there’s threat in all of this,” Matthew Gontram, proprietor of New Mexico River Adventures, informed Fox Information.”There’s threat each time you permit your home.”
CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
Like many others, Gontram’s enterprise has hit tough waters, dropping out on most of its season and gross sales due to the coronavirus. “We’re operating at about 25% of our capability. We’re the biggest river firm in New Mexico and we’re proper round 25%.”
New Mexico River Adventures, positioned alongside the Rio Grande, managed to squeeze in a couple of days of enterprise when the season opened in March, earlier than closing till June.
“We had been shocked we opened, actually. We had been very shocked. You understand, Texas and Oklahoma and Arizona and another states had opened two weeks earlier than us, proper earlier than Memorial Day. And as June 1 got here up, it was actually final minute and we had been shocked. Moreover, we had been shocked that the governor didn’t select to close us down,” mentioned Grontram.
Just a few miles south, over at Santa Fe Rafting Co., the sudden reopening in June meant they didn’t have time to rent new employees.
“By the point we obtained the OK, to get open … [conditions were] able to put folks on the river, so there was no time for trainings,” mentioned proprietor Jared McClure.
By working with rafting firms throughout the southwest, the enterprise got here up with a reopening plan. A plan which included limiting shuttle capability to 50%, maintaining it to 1 raft per household, cleansing each piece of kit after which setting that gear apart for 48 hours.
“It was actually enjoyable to reconnect with quite a lot of previous pals and outfitters from totally different states everywhere in the nation and see what everyone was doing and actually work collectively. As a result of we needed to, we didn’t have a alternative. And to actually give you a method we will make this all work as safely as potential,” mentioned Grontram.
Rafting firms say they’re nonetheless seeing a excessive quantity of curiosity, as folks need to head outdoor.
“Our numbers are most likely at about 30-40% of what we sometimes do in a season… Now we have been in a position to get quite a lot of locals out, which is superior,” mentioned McClure.
“It’s very nice to see folks taking quite a lot of correct steps and precautions to sluggish the unfold,” added rafter Alexander Thomas.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
There are comparable rafting protocols in Colorado, however in Texas, the exercise is flat-out banned. And over in Arizona, rafting is OK, however tubing leases are off-limits.
“I’ve by no means gone whitewater rafting. I simply wished to exit and expertise one thing new with my pals…simply being cooped up inside has been actually robust, so you understand, something you are able to do to be with family and friends and stuff is simply very nice,” mentioned Thomas.
Though they’re working with a restricted capability and a shortened season, New Mexico rafters say they’re grateful to be again on the water.
“I’ve by no means seen our public lands extra full of individuals in autos and vacationers, guests, hikers, rafters, whatnot… than these previous couple of months,” mentioned Grontram. “I imply, persons are spending time exterior, and whitewater rafting is a good way to get your adrenaline repair, and exit and see our stunning pure assets,” mentioned Grontram.