FROM THE DESK OF KEELY
COVID19 SAFETY MESSAGE – 2021 UPDATE
2020 was a challenging year for us all. Like so many, Black Hills Balloons was forced to monitor and adapt throughout the year; to ensure the safest environment possible during our 2020 flying season. South Dakota quickly became a popular destination for visitors who chose to get outside, get fresh air, and explore our wide-open spaces. Although a challenging year, it was also a successful one, sharing the beautiful skies with guests from all over the US, all while maintaining a healthy and happy covid-free staff.
We are lucky and grateful we were able to operate with minor changes to our standard practices and ensure the best experience for all. And we are very much looking forward to our 2021 season. Not only do we look forward to a little more normalcy, but we are more confident going into the season, knowing our 2020 operational procedures were so successful.
As the 2021 flying season is upon us, we will continue focusing on health safety procedures as well as maintaining the strict aviation safety protocols already in place.
In addition to standard operational procedures, including drug and alcohol policies, emergency procedures, disaster management, risk assessment, and day-to-day cleaning of equipment, we will continue the below items implemented in 2020.
- A relationship with an expert in cleaning and sanitation is important to us. We have partnered with Black Hills Chemical and Janitorial Supply who are the leading sanitation company in the Black Hills. They provide supplies for cleaning anything and everything that our guests and staff encounter.
- Our welcome area, vehicles, and balloons will be sanitized before and after each use.
- Hand sanitizer will always be available.
- If requested, only one group at a time will be allowed in the welcome area to sign waivers, use the bathroom, and purchase merchandise. Between groups, we will clean the area, including any pens used to sign waivers.
- Complimentary face masks and anti-fog safety glasses are available for all our guests.
- As always, our crew will set up and pack the balloon, allowing guests to step back and enjoy the experience without close interaction. The crew will ride in a separate vehicle from our guests.
- We are limiting the number of passengers per balloon and baskets are compartmentalized, creating more distance between parties.
- Our crew will wear masks when near guests and will only work if they are feeling healthy and not showing symptoms.
- We ask that anyone who feels ill has a fever, or shows symptoms stay at home. A balloon ride can wait for another day and we will be here to fly you. And we honor that request to stay home, by providing one of the most lenient cancelation policies around.
Ballooning is an outdoor activity that allows passengers to enjoy fresh air and wide-open spaces. Although the quarters are somewhat close, you are looking out, taking in the views, and taking photos.
Safety is our highest priority (it always has been) and we will go above and beyond to ensure the safety of our guests and staff. We appreciate your business in these tough times. We could not do this without you. With your support, we will all continue to make memories with our loved ones for years to come.
South Dakota is prioritizing safe travel and is ready and waiting to welcome you to our Great Faces and Great Places. Wide-open spaces and outdoor attractions provide ideal opportunities for safe & accessible travel. For more information, click HERE.
See you soon!
Damien and Keely Mahony