These are incredible times we live in.  COVID19 is affecting us in so many ways.  While parts of the country have had an incredibly difficult time with the virus, others have only needed to make small adjustments and sacrifices to daily life. This has been the case in Western South Dakota.  Social Distancing comes naturally here.  We have been practicing it for over 100 years!  At the time of writing, we have experienced zero positive cases in our County of Custer.

Black Hills Balloons is open for business.  We have already had some beautiful flights this season.  We have implemented new safety procedures while maintaining strict safety protocols already in place.

As a business regulated by the FAA and already being in the business of safety and compliance, we were able to make quick adjustments where needed to maintain the cleanest environment possible for our guests.  While no one can completely prepare for a pandemic, our business is one that is used to government opinions and policy changes.

In addition to our operation manual, which includes job descriptions, drug and alcohol policies, emergency procedures, disaster management, risk assessment, and day to day operations which highlights cleaning balloons, vehicles, and welcome areas, we have added the below.

In 2020, we are taking it a step further to ensure the safety of our guests and staff.

  • 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 are providing our supplies for cleaning anything and everything that our guests and staff come in contact with.
  • Our welcome area, vehicles, and balloons will be sanitized before and after each use.
  • Hand sanitizer will always be available.
  • 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 be wearing masks and gloves while near our guests and will only work if they are feeling healthy and not showing symptoms of the virus.
  • 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.

Ballooning is a wonderful outdoor sport which takes place in wide-open spaces!  Although the quarters are somewhat close in a balloon, you are outside in the fresh air where transmission is much less likely especially when we take the necessary precautions.

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.

Stay safe out there friends!!

Damien and Keely Mahony