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Wendella boat tours are back in business Friday in another promising sign as COVID restrictions are eased around Chicago.
[? [CYMBAL CRASH] ?]
DIANE PATHIEU: It really is. In fact, the second one just took off a few moments before you came to us.
OK, so we won't get to see the river dyed green this year, but you can still celebrate. Today, for the first time this season, you'll see the tour boats back on the river.
The beloved Chicago tradition of dyeing the river green will not take place this year. But that doesn't mean you still can't enjoy some time on the river. With precautions in place, Wendella is officially kicking off their 87th season on the water.
ANDREW SARGIS: Our operations is really focusing on our COVID-mitigation strategies, making sure that we give our customers a great experience. Showing them from Chicago but also keeping them safe and giving them that peace of mind that them and their family are safe when they're riding with us.
DIANE PATHIEU: On board, guests will see several protocols in place, including plastic guards at the bar, hand sanitizers, spaced-out seating, and the crew disinfects the entire vessel after every trip.
ANDREW SARGIS: Everyone could be on the open-air upper deck. And obviously we know that being outside is much safer than indoors. And it makes for a really safe, pandemic-friendly kind of attraction.
DIANE PATHIEU: One hundred guests will be allowed to board each time. That's about a third of how many they usually allow. You'll have to wear a mask, get a temperature check, and stay spaced apart. Easy rules to follow for the Ancheta family. Mom and dad are both nurses at Bryan Medical Center in Nebraska, and have already been vaccinated. When they realized the tour boat season would open today, they decided to stick around a little longer.
CHRISTER ANCHETA: We're excited. We've extended our reservation because of this, because you're just opening now.
DIANE PATHIEU: There are several boat rides taking place today and throughout the weekend. Tickets are still available.