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Tubers gather before the 12th annual Tube to Work Day in July in Boulder. The ongoing social distancing requirements and the city’s closure of Boulder Creek near Eben G. Fine Park has cast doubt on the 2020 iteration of the event. (Photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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For the first time in more than a decade, it’s possible a Boulder summer might go by without creek commuting.

Social distancing requirements and an indefinite closure of the Boulder Creek near Eben G. Fine Park have cast some doubt on whether the city will be able to hold its annual Tube to Work Day event in 2020.

The event, which was started by Jeff Kagan and Andy Gruel in 2008 as two guys in suits tubing down the creek, has grown into a massive event for the city, drawing more than 1,000 tubers to the waters of Boulder Creek in a celebration of alternative transportation and general Boulder weirdness.

This year’s Tube to Work Day was scheduled for July 17, but the event’s 13th running might run into some bad luck.

The spread of the coronavirus has health officials cautioning against large group gatherings, and so Kagan said organizers are monitoring the situation to see if it will be possible to hold the event.

“Still in wait and see mode,” Kagan wrote in an email to the Camera this week.

Water levels have forced the event to postpone in past years, and Kagan said he has blocked off a back-up date of Aug. 28 with the city in case the event can’t be held in July.

But even as Colorado has transitioned from stay-at-home to safer at home guidelines, state health officials have asked people to keep practicing social distancing in order to prevent a possible second wave of the contagious virus.

Complicating matters is the fact that the city have closed the Boulder Creek and area surrounding Eben G. Fine Park, in north Boulder, which is where the event has typically launched.

Officials put the closure in place following massive gatherings this month with little evidence of social distancing, and no possible end date to the closure has been announced.

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