UPDATE: as of March 13, and due to the unprecedented measures required to combat the spread of COVID-19, Water Taxi is presently closed until at least April 19, 2020. We will continue to update here and via social media as it becomes more clear as to when we may return to the canal to entertain you as our valued guests.
When we do return, we will be continuing to implement and follow many of the procedures outlined below, adopted shortly before the total shutdown. Elements specifically related to social distancing and served capacity will be adjusted based on recommendations from authorities including the CDC, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and our partners at The City of Oklahoma City.
Please do your own part to combat this crisis by complying with recommendations from the same organizations.
Previously posted March 12, 2020:
For more than 20 years, Bricktown Water Taxi has existed largely for one reason: to safely entertain our guests – locals and visitors alike – and to help the citizens of Oklahoma City maximize a return on the tremendous investments they have made over the past 25 years in their own quality of life. This normally consists of lighthearted tours and carefree, positive interaction with our guests. Despite the casual nature of our business, we have always prioritized the safety and well being of our guests and our crew.
A good quality of life includes healthy behavior and threat mitigation, when appropriate. Our goal is to be both responsive AND responsible.
In keeping with this priority, we have been keeping a very close eye on the emergence of COVID-19 (commonly called Coronavirus), which has now been categorized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Over the past couple of weeks – as it became apparent that its emergence in Oklahoma was only a matter of “when” rather than “if” – we began to take health and sanitation action in accordance with widely-distributed advice from experts at the World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Oklahoma City County Health Department, and very importantly our partners at the City of Oklahoma City, who contracts our company to operate boats on the Bricktown Canal, managed by the Oklahoma City Department of Parks and Recreation.
As a City contractor, we will specifically be following the City’s lead regarding new efforts to promote social distancing and other strategies to combat the spread of the virus. In the meantime here is what we have done so far of our own accord:
- Beginning in early March, Water Taxi added regular deep cleanings of all contact surfaces with antibacterial/antiviral wipes at the beginning and end of each shift, plus between boat rides. Previously our cleanings were regular, but consisted mostly of industry standard soap and water wash downs of boats, plus cleanings of our business touch surfaces with products such as 409 or Simple Green, and the regular use of hand sanitizer in our ticket booth. While adequate under normal circumstances, the present outbreak qualifies for a dramatic level of extra precaution.
- Antibacterial/antiviral wipes are now also being used on high-traffic public surfaces such as railings in our immediate area, regardless of whether they belong to Water Taxi.
- In addition to sanitizing wipes we have now added a regular misting of a professional surface disinfectant to our regular cleanings. This antibacterial/antiviral product is safe for food surfaces, and is applied and allowed to dry (manufacturer recommendation).
- Our employees have received instruction and will continue to receive coaching regarding the avoidance of personal contact with others, both for their safety and that of the guests. We have reminded them of CDC guidelines such as regular hand washing, not touching their faces, the use of sanitizers, social distancing, and not coming to work if symptomatic. We have also discussed with them the need to be aware of customer anxiety, and will be relaxing our refund policy for passengers who have not ridden but who have second thoughts about being exposed to a group.
- Staff’s health is being monitored for any signs of symptoms related to COVID.
As of this week, we have added the following, which makes our entire sales and check-in process touch-free:
- For the immediate future, we are going to be operating on an online and/or credit card only basis, with no cash taken at our ticket booth. Our tickets are sent via e-mail or text. If purchasing at our ticket booth we will allow customers to swipe their own card, with a card swiper outside of the ticketing window, and the swiper itself will be given regular sanitizing wipe-downs.
- Check-ins are done via networked wireless handheld devices carried by our tour guides, so no physical ticket changes hands.
- As of today we are encouraging our tour guides to check passengers in by name lookup rather than by scan as much as possible. Both are no-touch, but name lookup allows staff and customers to keep even more respectful distance.
- Staff is being advised to under no circumstances touch a customer’s phone during check-ins, credit card during purchases, or other personal items.
- Based on the information available from the CDC and others, we are fortunate that we are an outdoor venue, where distancing can be maintained comfortably. However the boats themselves – when full – can place passengers in much closer quarters. Therefore for the first time in nearly 21 years we have moved exclusively to timed departures rather than on-demand, and until further notice we are capping each departure at 20 passengers rather than the full 40 capacity of the boat. In most instances boats depart with far fewer than 20. We are politely encouraging each group to find spacing from other groups. If social distancing and public gathering maximum size recommendations change, we will adjust accordingly.
Furthermore, if you have purchased tickets for an upcoming day and have second thoughts about your visit, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org and we will refund them, no questions asked.
This is a constantly evolving scenario, so we are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with our partners, and are closely monitoring up-to-the-minute data. We will continue to make decisions solely based on the best interests of our crew and our customers, in cooperation with our partners at the City of Oklahoma City.
Here’s a way to track the current status of the virus in our country, plus helpful resources to keep you informed and help you plan.
As we take additional measures to protect the health of our community, we encourage you to do the same! If you are not feeling well, please stay home and seek medical attention. Our crew and our other guests (and our wider community) thanks you.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email@example.com or give us a call at 405-234-8263.
Thank you for your patronage, and also thanks in advance for doing everything YOU can to keep yourself, your friends and family and the rest of the community safe. We look forward to your next visit to the Bricktown Canal.
– The Bricktown Water Taxi team