River Runners’ Response to COVID19

At River Runners, we are monitoring recommendations and mandates set by local, state and federal agencies. As always, our number one priority is the safety of our guests and our staff.

Whitewater Rafting Industry’s Response to Operations in a Covid-19 Environment

The Arkansas River Outfitters Association (AROA) has created a subcommittee to develop best practices to safely operate during the phased approach of reopening the economy after the stay-at-home orders have been rescinded. We are confident outfitters can adopt procedures to provide safe trips for our guests and employees. Some of our preliminary protocols are highlighted here:

Phase 1 / Stay Safer at Home
Employees and guests will wear facial coverings in all situations where it does not cause additional risk to one’s health.


  • Daily symptom screening and questioning.
  • Assign work stations that are 6’ apart for indoor employees.
  • Frequent hand washing throughout the day. Access to hand sanitizer.
  • Employees will be updated daily of any new protocols as conditions change.

Guest Check-in Process

  • Employees and guests will wear facial coverings.
  • Outfitters will provide a no contact check-in for guests when possible.
  • Signage at entry doors will display procedures to explain the movement of guests through our facilities.
  • Occupancy will be managed by staff.
  • Additional check-in times will reduce the volume of people arriving at the same time.
  • Guests will sign digital waivers when appropriate to eliminate contact.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in the office, retail areas and in restrooms.
  • All restrooms, touch screens, changing rooms, handles and high contact areas will be cleaned and sanitized after each tour rotates through.

Trip Size

  • The people per boat average on the Arkansas River in 2019 was 4.86 guests per boat +1 guide, which equals an average of 5.86 people per boat, so group size is well under 10.
  • Trip sizes will be reduced to maintain proper social distancing.


  • Outfitters will use guidelines used by the RTD public transportation operation in regards to vehicles
  • Loading will start at the back and move forward. Disembarking will be the opposite.
  • Employees and guests will wear face coverings.
  • Windows will remain open during transport.
  • All surfaces including seats, windows and railings will be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Food Service

  • We will continue to follow existing food safety protocols for storing, packaging, serving and cleaning. All staff and guests will wash or sanitize their hands before food is served.
  • All employees will be required to wear masks and gloves.
  • Guests will be seated, if using State Park tables, with proper social distancing in mind. All tables will be sanitized before using them.
  • No bulk food service will be used. No self-serve buffet meals.
  • All lunches will be pre-packaged with individually wrapped items including but not limited to chips, cookies, fruit or snack items. Silverware will be individually wrapped.
  • All coolers, food containers and trash containers will be washed and sanitized daily.
  • Multi-day trip meals will follow the same guidelines with staff preparing, cooking and plating dinners and breakfasts for guests. There will be no self-serving options.


  • All rafting equipment will be cleaned and disinfected after every trip. This includes life jackets, wetsuits, helmets, splash jackets and river boots.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • All cleaning and sanitizing will be done using procedures and products verified by the CDC. Hand sanitizer will be available where handwashing may not be.

The above guidelines have been made on behalf of the Arkansas River Outfitters Association.