Hotels work to serve community despite new restrictions

Updated: Mar. 30, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Commission order adding additional restrictions to Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday.

This order places restrictions on hotels in the county.

Per the order, hotels should not take any vacationers but are permitted to continue providing lodging to local residents who are displaced from their homes.

They are also permitted to provide lodging to people including utility workers, construction workers, and truck drivers. Hotels may also take anyone providing direct assistance to a governmental, community, or non-profit request for support in COVID-19 emergency response.

If hotels have the capacity to serve non-profits or other personnel assisting with the county’s COVID-19 response, they should contact the New Hanover County Emergency Operations Center.

The ARRIVE hotel in Downtown Wilmington says they will be staying open to provide lodging for any medical staff or first responders.

Trey Sharp, the CEO of PCCS Medical, reached out to the hotel looking for rooms for medical staff, doctors, nurses, and other first responders to stay in if they’re worried about going back to their own homes.

“He donated 100 room nights himself. So he paid for 100 room nights for anyone in the medical community to stay and he’s also started a GoFundMe to pay for any additional room nights for anyone who wants to come in and is part of the medical teams,” said Adam Parnes, Corporate Director of Hotel Operations at ARRIVE Hotels.

Parnes says they do have a few healthcare professionals slated to stay this week.

“Trey has provided the PPE equipment for our staff. All of our staff have gloves and masks if they want to wear so when they’re cleaning rooms. We deep clean all public areas and high touch points every day,” he said.

The Blockade Runner Resort in Wrightsville Beach is also staying open to make sure its employees receive paychecks. The Blockade Runner has no guests but employs over 100 people.

Owner Mary Baggett says they will give their staff the opportunity to work full 40 hour weeks for as long as they need to.

She fully understands the dangers posed to healthcare workers right now, but said many hospitality employees work paycheck to paycheck, making them extremely vulnerable.

The owner also stresses they’re taking exra precautions, taking each employee’s temperature before a shift and keeping everyone more than 6 feet apart.

“We feel like we’ve done every measure possible to keep them healthy and safe and we hope the ones who choose to do it will be thrilled to be with us and the ones who choose not to be when we’re able to open back to regular business their job will be right there waiting for them,” she said.

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