Photo: Tom Reel/Staff Photographer
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Tubing is still happening on the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers despite state orders issued Friday closing outfitters in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Though public access points to both rivers are closed, outfitters like Rockin’ R, Shanty Tubes, Tube Haus and The Lone Star Float House are providing entry and parking for floaters who bring their own tubes. Some are also offering amenities, like air pumps, or are selling tubes.
Comal County officials directed questions on interpretations of the order to the governor’s office. According to the order, violations can result in a fine of up to $1,000.
Abbott’s order states “People shall not use commercial rafting or tubing services, including rental of rafts or tubes and transportation of people for the purpose of rafting or tubing.”
The improvised business model the outfitters are using does not include the usual transportation services, leaving tubers to shuttle themselves or walk.
Tube Haus is one of the outfitters selling parking and air for customers to fill their own tubes.
“It does not state that personal equipment is ban (sic), so we are offering parking and air for personal equipment,” the Tube Haus posted on the company’s Facebook page hours after Abbott’s order was signed.
Prices were not listed for Shanty Tubes or Rockin’ R, but the Tube Haus is charging $30 for parking per car and $5 to inflate a single tube or $10 for a double-seater.
The New Braunfels website states all park accesses to the Comal and Guadalupe rivers are closed within city limits.
“This closure includes Prince Solms Park, Hinman Island Park, Garden Street Tuber’s Exit, Last Tuber’s Exit, River Acres Park, Cypress Bend Park, and the area surrounding the Faust Street Bridge,” the June 26 alert reads.