A relaxing afternoon spent floating down the Cowichan River is once again an option to cool off on a hot summer day.

Lake Cowichan has reversed its decision to cancel tubing on the river for 2020.

In April, the council voted to prohibit tubing this year because of the concern that large numbers of people congregating in the small downtown area would create a high risk for the spread of COVID-19.

Members of the council worried that physical distancing would be impossible in the small area where tubes are rented and launched.

However, Tube Shack owner Aaron Frisby now says his company has reached an agreement with Lake Cowichan that will allow them to open for business on June 27th.

Frisby says they have created a COVID-19 operating plan that will restrict the number of tubers who can enter the river to 20, and launches will be spaced at 30-minute intervals.

The tube reservations will only be taken online in order to control the arrival and departure times to avoid large groups of people gathering around the Tube Shack.

Frisby believes they can manage the numbers, which will keep customers and staff safe from COVID-19.

“With customers booking online, we will be more than prepared for their arrival, have equipment ready for them as soon as they get to The Tube Shack, with minimum interaction with our staff and eliminating lineups.”

After the trip downstream, tubes will be cleaned and transported in a separate vehicle.

The customer shuttles will carry half the normal number of passengers in order to maintain social distancing.

Frisby also says, “With the reduced capacity of our shuttles we obviously won’t be able to provide a shuttle only service for those bringing their own tubes as well as our staff not being able to hold customers car keys while they float so we have ordered a large amount of drybags to strap to their tubes to hold personal belongings to combat this issue.”

In a normal year, thousands of people visit Lake Cowichan to enjoy floating down the Cowichan River on inflatable tubes, providing an economic boost to the small community.