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Coronavirus: Saskatoon’s Prairie Lily remains afloat despite difficult season

The Prairie Lily won't be setting sail again until 2021. Slavo Kutash / Global News

The Prairie Lily didn’t easily coast through 2020, but the riverboat’s owners remain optimistic at the end of the season.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges, it still set sail with precautions in place.

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“Revenue wise we’ve taken a significant hit,” co-owner Joan Steckhan said.

“We hope by the time that everything clears that we’ll break even and my husband Captain Mike and I are working for free.”

The Steckhan’s brought the Prairie Lily to Saskatoon in 2012 from La Crosse, Wisconsin. More than 20,000 passengers board the riverboat in a typical season.

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“The Prairie Lily has received the warmest welcome we could’ve imagined,” Steckhan said.

However, this year saw the boat carry about a third of the passengers it normally has. The season started late and had a reduced capacity to maintain physical distancing.

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The Steckhans expected things to be tough and don’t regret how they handled things.

“We’re here for the long-term. We wanted to make sure that the community of Saskatoon know that we want to welcome them,” Steckhan said.

“We came through it safely which means that we didn’t have any transmissions or staff sick at all.”

New carpets are being installed during the off-season, and Steckhan hopes to have special cruises postponed this year to run in 2021.

Click to play video 'Prairie Lily seminar discusses Saskatoon shipwreck, steamships and the Franklin Expedition' Prairie Lily seminar discusses Saskatoon shipwreck, steamships and the Franklin Expedition
Prairie Lily seminar discusses Saskatoon shipwreck, steamships and the Franklin Expedition – Oct 16, 2016
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