COVID-19 - Industry Update 16: May 22, 2020

Greetings to Travel Partners,

As we transition into Phase 2 and prepare to welcome visitors, the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau continues to share the latest COVID-19 research, resources and guidelines. This week’s Industry Update includes timely information, including industry Reopening Guidelines and details about the free “Count On Me NC” safety training program.

Current Updates

This week N.C. Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 141 that lifts the Stay at Home Order and eases restrictions on travel, business operations, and mass gatherings. On May 22 at 5:00 p.m., the new order moves North Carolina into “Phase 2” of easing certain COVID-19 restrictions, along with a Safer at Home recommendation for high-risk individuals: .  Phase 2 will last up to 5 weeks (through June 26), and Phase 3 is expected to remain in place for 4-6 weeks, unless otherwise modified or extended by the governor’s office. 

Phase 2 highlights that affect hospitality businesses include :

  • Restaurants can open for indoor/outdoor dining at 50% capacity, but with limits on capacity and cleaning requirements.
  • Retailers can open at 50% capacity with distancing restrictions. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people; outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.
  • Swimming pools can open at 50% capacity (with limits per square foot in and out of the water).
  • Under phase 2, bars, nightclubs, indoor entertainment venues, museums, playgrounds, and gyms will remain closed.
  • Additional restrictions may be ordered by local government officials
  • Businesses that are open during the duration of this Executive Order are encouraged to follow the Guidelines for Businesses published by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services:
  • A list of phase 2 Frequently Asked Questions includes more details:

Lodging & Beach Updates : Earlier this week, Wrightsville Beach lifted its restrictions on beach activities, opened more parking lots, and allows short-term rentals with no restrictions. Carolina Beach and Kure Beach short-term rentals and public restrooms are open; beach activities are allowed. The City of Wilmington’s hotels, motels and short-term rentals are open, with some capacity restrictions. For a detailed synopsis of each municipality’s status, please visit our updated COVID-19 Visitor Information page:

COUNT ON ME NC – Free Training Program & Guidance for Hospitality Businesses : Count On Me NC, a statewide, evidence-based safety guidance programdesigned to educate and train businesses on best practices for reopening, launched this week.  Count on Me NC provides specific guidance and best practices to restaurants, hotels, attractions and other businesses andaddresses consumers' need for trustworthy standards. The first COVID training module is now live for Restaurant Owners & Managers: . Additional modules for FOH, BOH, hotels, attractions, and other businesses coming soon. The campaign will also direct consumers to look for certificates and Count on Me NC logos for assurance that a business has completed the voluntary, no-cost training­. The CVB encourages all hospitality businesses in New Hanover County to log in to the modules to earn a free toolkit, certificates and logos for display.

Cook It Forward : NCRLA and VisitNC recently launched a new “Cook It Forward” initiative via Instagram, designed to promote the state's culinary offerings and raise money for the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund: 

A Tourism Recovery Webinar will be hosted by the Wilmington and Beaches CVB on June 4, from 10 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Topics will include: national and state research, state and local industry updates and recovery campaigns. Kim Hufham, president/CEO of the Wilmington and Beaches CVB, will provide CVB updates, and special guests Kimberly Vince-Cruz, Vice President of Destination Analysts, Lynn Minges, Executive Director of the NC Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Wit Tuttell, Executive Director of Visit NC, will provide research findings, statewide updates and new initiatives, including their joint Count On Me NC (an innovative public health initiative for safely reopening restaurants and other businesses while addressing consumers' need for trustworthy standards) and Cook It Forward initiatives. Stay tuned for log-in details.

Industry Reopening and Safety Guidance is now available from various government organizations and trade associations. An extensive list (with links) is provided under the Additional COVID-19 Resources section (below).

New Travel Research :

Destination Analysts Update on Coronavirus’ Impact on American Travel:

Longwoods International COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study

Smith Travel Research – U.S. Hotel Results

The Harris Poll COVID-19 Survey

Weekly Coronavirus Impact on Travel Expenditures in the U.S.:

Adara COVID-19 Traveler Trends (updated frequently):

Arrivalist Daily Travel Index (updated every 48 hours):

Below are updates from state and county officials, followed by CVB updates and helpful links.

State of North Carolina Updates:

NCDHHS signage and flyers for Businesses (in English & Spanish):

New Hanover County / City of Wilmington Updates:

Wilmington and Beaches CVB Update:

  • Developed and posted outdoor-adventure Road Trip blogs for Wilmington, and Carolina, Kure, Wrightsville beaches.
  • Revised COVID-19 visitor information page to reflect Phase 2 details and local updates.
  • REMINDER: Tourism Recovery Webinar, Thursday, June 4 at 10am until 11:30am. Please see topic details under Current Update section (above).

Ways You Can Assist the CVB :
  • Provide enhanced safety policies and protocols to
  • Inform CVB of re-openings, occupancy and meeting/event status
  • Respond to CVB surveys (always confidential)

Wilmington and Beaches COVID-19 Resource Pages:


NC Restaurant & Lodging Association has created a Phase 2 FAQ sheet with answers to questions that are specific to hospitality businesses:

Visit N.C. is hosting tourism webinars related to COVID-19, including this week’s presentation, “The Road to Recovery,” which covers the new Count On Me NC program, current travel mindset, and the state's upcoming tourism recovery marketing campaign. Webinars can be accessed online at

N.C. Travel Industry Association Newsletter (May 11-15, 2020):
Film Festival Alliance - Online Festival Platforms: s


For a list of Local, State and National COVID-19 assistance programs and resources, visit the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Resources page: .


Government organizations and trade associations offer Reopening and Safety Guidance:

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services - Guidelines for Businesses that are open during Phase 2: .

New Hanover County Public Health – (Re) Open for Business guidelines:

White House & CDC Guidelines for Opening Up America Again: /

NCRLA - NCDHHS Interim Guidance for Restaurants , including signage (May 22):

National Restaurant Association Reopening Guide:

American Hotel & Lodging Association Releases Industry-wide Hotel Cleaning Standards through “Safe Stay” Initiative:

International Association for the Attractions Industry:

American Alliance of Museums [AAM] - Considerations for Museum Reopening :  

AAM Webinar - Sanitizing and Cleaning Protocols:

NC Arts Council - Guide to Reopen the Arts:

National Association of Theatre Owners – Operation Open Door Checklist :

 American Amusement Machine Association COVID-19 Resources :

  Smart Restart New Hanover County Guide (developed by the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce) This living document will be updated as information changes:  
 EcoLab’s Public Health Resources for Hospitality:

ISSA , the worldwide cleaning organization, together with the  Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC STAR) 20 explicit requirements and implementation guides:

EPA Disinfectants for Use Against SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19  


CDC Travel Health (updated frequently):


Thank you for keeping the CVB informed. Your feedback is very important and helps us to respond to industry needs and concerns as the situation evolves. 
Be well and stay tuned,

Connie Nelson
PR/Communications Director
Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau
505 Nutt Street, Unit A
Wilmington, NC 28401
(P)(910) 341.4030 x120

New Hanover County’s tourism industry generates more than $613 million in annual economic impact, creates 6,470 jobs and contributes $54 million to the state and local tax bases. Each county resident saves an estimated $228.31 annually in taxes .

For the latest COVID-19 Updates and Archived information from the Pleasure Iskland Chamber of Commerce, please CLICK HERE

1121 N. Lake Park Blvd.
Carolina Beach, NC 28428