BB Riverboats cruising along after coronavirus, flooding stalls service

Updated: May. 25, 2020 at 8:04 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - BB Riverboats is back in business after having to close due to the coronavirus pandemic but that wasn’t the only thing that delayed the business reopening.

Until Monday, the Ohio River was too high to begin service.

BB Riverboats owner and captain Ben Bernstein says it is a good feeling to be back to work for the first time since March 16.

The riverboats have always been part of Bernstein’s life as he grew up on them with his family.

BB Riverboats operates year-round and would normally have more than 100 employees this time of year. Right now, they only have 15-20.

“It’s relief certainly, there’s been a lot of unknowns over the last two to three months,” explains Bernstein, “It’s nice, it’s beautiful weather, it feels great out here. It’s a good feeling.”

In addition to frequent sanitizing, cleaning and using a special disinfecting machine on the boat, they are also only allowing 33% capacity on each cruise.

Guests must also adhere to social distancing, much like the regulations at restaurants.

Linda Burton and her two kids enjoyed Monday’s nice weather and some family time.

“Definitely smaller groups,” Burton explains how this experience is different than usual. “The last time we went on this one we were on a smaller boat. They [my kids] were asking why we couldn’t [go on the smaller boat]. I said we need more space so we’re on the bigger boat. They [the staff] kept their distance really well and I was surprised to see the staff changing their gloves a lot.”

Bernstein says he knows there may be changes in policy and procedures when they have a few more cruises complete and can see what works and what needs to change.

For now, he’s just hoping everyone has a safe and fun time on the river!

If you’re interested in booking a cruise, they are offering discounts right now. They also plan to expand their schedule soon.

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