Grand Canyon West suspends operations over coronavirus spread
In an effort to keep visitors, suppliers and team members as safe and healthy as possible, Grand Canyon West will temporarily suspend operations at Grand Canyon Skywalk and the company’s other tourism experiences as of March 18, 2020.
“We have been monitoring directives from federal, state and local public health agencies closely for several weeks,” said Colin McBeath, CEO of the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation, which owns and operates GCW. “At this point in the coronavirus outbreak, there’s too much uncertainty for us risk the health of our guests and the people we work with on a daily basis. Obviously, this is a very dynamic situation. At this point, our plan is to reevaluate the situation in two weeks and decide then on an appropriate timetable for reopening.”
Besides Skywalk, GCW’s tourism experiences to be closed temporarily include Hualapai River Runners tours of the Colorado River, the Zipline at Grand Canyon West, the Hualapai Ranch and its rustic cabins along the West Rim and the Hualapai Lodge in Peach Springs on historic Route 66.
The Lodge’s Diamond Creek restaurant will continue to operate for takeout orders only from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Walapai Market on Route 66 will continue to operate normal hours.
Visitors who have purchased Grand Canyon West tickets or hotel accommodations for the impacted dates will have the opportunity to reschedule their trip at a later date or to seek a refund, said McBeath. Guests who want to make changes, seek a refund or get more information can call 1-888-868-WEST or 928-769-2636.
The company will continue to pay its more than 500 employees during the closure, said McBeath.
To date, no team members or GCW visitors have reported testing positive for coronavirus.
“Obviously, as with so many businesses, this unprecedented situation has put a significant strain on our people,” said McBeath. “We want to do everything we can to support the GCW family, our partners and guests during what is a very difficult time for one and all.”
Virtually all of the Grand Canyon West tourism entities are outdoors, with minimal physical contact between guests and team members. In early March, GCW and its vendors instituted advanced cleaning measures to ensure public health and safety. Team members were trained in stricter janitorial and disinfecting procedures and provided with updated information on identifying concerns or issues with guests. Emergency services had been placed in a state of advanced preparedness.