Betsy Ann Riverboat hopes to welcome her guests back safely

BILOXI, Mississippi (WLOX) – It may not be long before you can embark on a cruise or excursion aboard a popular tourist attraction in Biloxi.

The Betsy Ann Riverboat has been moored for more than a month due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the crew are preparing to welcome guests safely, they hope, in the coming weeks.

For now, the Betsy Ann is getting a makeover. It’s been over a month since this old-fashioned paddle steamer last set sail, so deckhands take advantage of the downtime to do paint and other maintenance work. .

Owner and Captain Michael White is eager to bring people on board to see the improvements.

“It’s time to start looking at how we can get back on track, in smaller numbers and in safe numbers, and start generating income and getting people out, in the sun, in the breeze and have a good time.” , did he declare. noted.

White hopes the governor will give them the green light to operate again by mid-May. Time is running out, and as he does, White said his business is losing money fast. He lost over $ 40,000 in repayments last month.

“It’s a challenge when you put your heart and soul and your savings and everything in a business, and you see that dream come true, and then you have the rug taken out from under your feet. It’s a tough pill to swallow, ”he said.

All he can do right now is prepare for when the Betsy Ann can return home.

Cruises and tours will operate at 50% occupancy with only 50 guests allowed on board. They are removing tables and benches to allow for social distancing, and White said they will disinfect surfaces frequently and all staff will wear gloves and, if necessary, masks.

White said it would be nice to get back to some sense of normalcy.

“I would love to have this thing roam the coastline and whistle for people to hear us and see we’re alive,” he said.

White said he hoped to start the historic eco tours immediately.

However, the resumption of dinner cruises may take a little longer depending on when the restaurant restrictions are lifted.

You can follow the latest updates on the Betsy Ann Facebook page.

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