SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Tubing season has officially begun on the San Marcos River — at least in a scaled back version for company Texas State Tubes.
“On a normal day, I would have hundreds of vehicles and at least a thousand tubers out here,” says general manager Erica Gomez.
Right now, Gomez says they’re operating at about 10-15% capacity as they implement new safety measures.
That includes only allowing tubing by appointment, which is spaced out online.
Once tubers arrived, they are also launched into the river in three to five minute intervals, depending on how fast the currents are going and whether or not other companies are operating.
Bus rides back to the parking area will also have fewer people, Gomez says.
“We have everybody sit in a checkered style. After that, when everybody is dropped off, the bus driver sanitizes the seats, allows for time for them to dry all the way back up to the top of the property and then sits them in opposite checkered seats, sanitizes and the next trip…” she explains.
Although the procedures look different for annual tubers, many are glad for a small step toward normalcy.
“It’s about time. People need to be in nature and see people, it’s good,” says Lili Gately.
“And you can still social distance while you do this, so, you know– have fun, but don’t have too much fun,” said Marco Farrish.
“As a chemist, there’s a proper way to do things. You can enjoy the environment, you can enjoy the tubing, you can enjoy the river without spreading the virus,” says Dustin Quigley, who adds he’s been tubing on the San Marcos River for about five years.
Other safety measures at Texas State Tubes include hand sanitizing stations and socially distanced lines.
Gomez acknowledges that not everybody was happy about their decision to reopen but says she’s glad to try to get people back on the river safely.
“If we can just allow everybody in the world to just have a few moments of respite in a crazy world in a safe way, I would love to be able to provide that for people,” she says.
Another popular tubing company along the San Marcos River, Don’s Fish Camp, is set to reopen on May 22. According to their social media announcement, they will also not be allowing walk-ups.
You must book a time slot online.