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Duck boat tours resume with a splash of hope

"Back Bay Bertha" splashed into the water on the first day that Boston Duck Tours was allowed to operate since businesses were shut down because of the pandemic.
"Back Bay Bertha" splashed into the water on the first day that Boston Duck Tours was allowed to operate since businesses were shut down because of the pandemic.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

One of the signs of summer in the city was long delayed this year. But Boston Duck Tours reopened Monday, offering tours starting at the Prudential Center and selling over 150 tickets, according to the company.

The resumption of duck boat tours, part of the state’s Phase 3 reopening plan in Boston, may provide some hope for the hospitality and tourism industry, which suffered greatly during the coronavirus shutdown.

Tours began at 10:00 a.m. and were running hourly. Guests and staff are required to wear masks. In addition to the Prudential Center location, the New England Aquarium pickup location will open on Wednesday, and the Museum of Science location on July 22.

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To try to ensure safety, the company is doing extra cleaning between tours, with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. Boston Duck Tours is also encouraging advance bookings with cashless payments to cut down on contact.

The company said that before the pandemic, it brought in approximately 600,000 customers per season. Since the company opened in 1994, the boats have logged over 12 million guests.

Colton Bailey wore a mask as he peered out of the duck boat.
Colton Bailey wore a mask as he peered out of the duck boat. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The tours showcase sites such as Trinity Church, the Old State House, the Boston Public Library, and other landmarks and memorials.

“[W]e are thrilled to see Guests on the Ducks enjoying our wonderful city. We are also pleased to have our employees back doing what we do best and sharing the fascinating history of Boston and cruising the beautiful Charles River,” said Cindy Brown, CEO of Boston Duck Tours, in a statement. “We have a long uphill battle ahead of us, but we are determined to get through this season and come back strong in 2021.”

Luke Neily, guest service manager, (left) and Tim McNamara, senior guest service representative, disinfected a duck boat after it its  passengers disembarked.
Luke Neily, guest service manager, (left) and Tim McNamara, senior guest service representative, disinfected a duck boat after it its passengers disembarked.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff