CALDWELL, Idaho — With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting local businesses hard, one group says they've been busier than ever.
Samantha and Corbin Maxey are Caldwell residents, Idaho wine lovers, and the owners of Snake River Wine Tours. Corbin tells Idaho News 6 that being open during that pandemic has made both he and his wife feel incredibly blessed, especially as small business owners.
Before the pandemic, Snake River Wine Tours was already doing well and decided to expand operations in February.
“I was expecting and anticipating to be busy this year we purchased a second vehicle, right before COVID happened," said Samantha.
When COVID-19 did happen, Samantha did worry but it didn’t take long for reservations to take off. Samantha says they received so many inquiries in October that they actually had to turn down tours.
While they weren’t expecting the high demand, they also weren’t anticipating booking through 2021. Samantha says the wine tour is already booked for Valentine's Day of next year.
As coronavirus cases continue to surge, especially in the Gem State, Snake River Wine Tours and local wineries are taking many measures to keep customers safe. When it comes to the tours, the van is sanitized between each group. Temperatures are also taken before entering the van and masks are available for anyone who doesn't have one.
At Sawtooth Winery, you'll find a sanitation station and hand sanitizer on the tables for guests to use. Staff members wear masks at all times and temperature checks are done, as well as promoting social distancing.
Collaboration and communication is key between wineries and this wine tour company. A representative for Sawtooth tells us that working with Snake River Wine Tours has been incredible.
"Communication has been key," says Sawtooth. "I know we’ve had numerous meetings throughout COVID talking about safety protocols making sure we’re in line with their business strategy, and then they’re in line with our protocols here.”
To book a tour or to learn more about safety protocols, click here.