NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — River recreation is facing restrictions under a new order from Governor Greg Abbott’s office issued Friday morning.
Tubing companies have been shut down following the order and several popular water access points have been closed by local governments.
Texas waterways have been popular this summer as crowds of tourists and locals cool off in rivers and lakes around the Hill Country.
A spike in coronavirus cases across the state led to new safety measures.
Along with other industry requirements rolled out Friday, Abbott told river outfitters to shut down.
He said this is part of a targeted, temporary adjustment to the reopening plan - needed to reduce the growing spread of COVID-19 and to avoid more extreme measures.
Tubing companies in the area notified floaters of the shutdown.
“Despite all of the hard work… we have been forced to close down,” Felger’s, an outfitter in New Braunfels, posted on Facebook. “We are working hard to ensure your safety when we open back up.”
Texas Tubes posted: “We’re so sorry for all the chaos and stress that this has caused everyone, we’re completely [stressed] out too.”
Rockin R River Rides, a business with multiple locations in Comal County, issued this statement:
“This is hard. Every summer our rivers provide memories for so many, visitors and residents alike. Tourism also supports the livelihoods of over 10,000 New Braunfelsers. But, as Texans, especially in New Braunfels, making hard decisions is not new for us. We are complying with Governor Abbott’s orders so we can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus; protecting our residents and visitors is paramount.
As Rockin R goes, our commercial business of renting and shuttling has come to a halt however we do have property that will be available for folks to come enjoy on a limited basis to put a toe in the water and enjoy mother nature. For a longer stay outdoors visit one of our 2 sister campgrounds, info can be found at www.rockinr.com.”
The Float In beat Abbott to the punch, announcing days ago they would close to help slow the spread of the virus.
While some recreation spots are accessible for floaters who bring their own tubes, many popular places have imposed restrictions.
The City of New Braunfels shut down river parks Friday at noon.
The City of San Marcos closed theirs Thursday night.
In Canyon Lake, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shut down campgrounds and will keep the Guadalupe Nature Trail parking lot closed on weekends. Overlook Park is subject to capacity closures.
The City of Boerne is shutting down their lake on weekends.