Coronavirus Visitor Info

What to expect when traveling to Wilmington and Beaches

Wilmington and our island beaches of Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville Beaches are under an Executive Order advancing into Phase 3 with the easing of more restrictions while maintaining the mask mandate and other prevention methods.  

For those visiting our city and beach communities, we thank you for trusting us with your care and safety as you travel. We encourage you to travel and enjoy responsibly by practicing social distancing and other guidelines for your safety and those of our residents. Visitors are advised to contact lodging properties and tourism businesses directly with questions regarding reservations, admissions and availability prior to travel.

 

Phase 3 Easing of More Restrictions

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 169 moving forward to Phase 3 effective until November 13 to address the on-going public health emergency. Face masks or face coverings are required when out in public or in public areas - both indoors and outdoors - where social distancing cannot be maintained. This includes, but is not limited to, retail businesses, restaurants, lodging, transportation, etc. If you are able to safely maintain at least 6 feet distance from others, wearing a mask is not required when spending time outdoors exercising or walking in our parks or on our three island beaches.

Travelers are advised to follow CDC travel recommendations and contact lodging properties directly to confirm status and inquire about safety guidelines. Restaurants can open for indoor/outdoor dining at 50% capacity. Breweries, wineries and distilleries can open under the same enhanced sanitization and safety requirements that restaurants must follow under Phase 3, including a 50% occupancy limit and rigorous cleaning procedures. Retailers can open at 50% capacity with distancing restrictions. Swimming pools can open at 50% capacity. Mass gatherings stay at 25 people/indoors, 50 people/outdoors. Playgrounds can open. Museums and aquariums can open at 50% capacity. Fitness/gyms and competitive physical activity facilities can open at 30% capacity.

Changes in this order include:  

  • Bars will be allowed to operate outdoors at 30% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Note there are other restrictions on bars - see pages 12-13 of E.O. 169
  • Theaters, nightclubs, venues for live performances and lounges where guests are seated can open subject to reduced capacity limits for outdoor spaces and subject to mass gathering limit for indoor spaces.
  • Conference centers (including meeting space in a hotel), event spaces, and movie theaters will be allowed to open indoors at 30% of capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
  • Small outdoor venues will be allowed to open at 30% of outdoor capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
  • Amusement parks will be allowed to operate at 30% of outdoor capacity with limits per ride.
  • Movie theaters can open subject to capacity limits and other restrictions.

Executive Order 169  and  Executive Order 169 FAQs

Beaches Updates

Carolina Beach
The Carolina Beach Town Council made the following amendments to its State of Emergency Declaration on May 8 with no additional changes to date:

  • Lodging (short term rentals including hotels, motels, inns, vacation rentals), public parking and beach are open. Visitors are advised to contact lodging properties directly with questions about reservations and availability.
  • Freeman Park is open but with additional restrictions in effect as of May 22. 
  • Visitors are advised to contact tourism businesses directly with questions regarding admissions and availability prior to travel. 
  • For the most recent updates, please visit the Town of Carolina Beach website.

Kure Beach
The Kure Beach Town Council made the following amendments to its State of Emergency Declaration on May 15 with no additional changes to date:

  • Lodging (short term rentals including motels, vacation rentals or other lodging accommodations) are open. Visitors are advised to contact lodging properties directly with questions about reservations and availability.
  • Visitors are advised to contact tourism businesses directly with questions regarding admissions and availability prior to travel. 
  • For the most recent updates, please visit the Town of Kure Beach website.

Wrightsville Beach
The Town of Wrightsville Beach made the following amendments to its State of Emergency Declaration on May 15 with no additional changes to date:

  • Lodging (short term rentals including hotels, motels, vacation rentals or other lodging accommodations) are open. Visitors are advised to contact lodging properties directly with questions about reservations and availability. 
  • Visitors are advised to contact tourism businesses directly with questions regarding admissions and availability prior to travel. 
  • For the most recent updates, please visit the Town of Wrightsville Beach website.

Lodging Updates

Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach short term rentals (hotels, motels, vacation rentals) are open. City of Wilmington updates are below.

  • Visitors are advised to contact lodging properties directly with questions regarding reservations and availability. 
  • If possible, visitors staying in vacation rentals should bring essentials with them, including paper and sanitizing products and non-perishable groceries. 

Wilmington
The City of Wilmington made the following amendment to its State of Emergency Declaration on May 29 with no additional changes to date: 

  • Lodging: All  short-term rentals (hotels, motels, B&Bs and vacation rentals) are open.
  • Information regarding the most recent updates can be found on the  City of Wilmington COVID-19 FAQs page.

Cleaning/Safety Protocols

Enhanced Safety Measures for Lodging
For hospitality businesses in Wilmington and Beaches, the health and well-being of our visitors and employees is a top priority. With safety concerns top of mind for travelers in the foreseeable future, many lodging properties are following enhanced safety guidelines provided by corporate offices, as well as guidance from respected industry associations such as the American Hotel & Lodging Association, U.S. Travel Association, the CDC, among others that are designed to provide a consistent set of cleaning and guest/associate safety standards. Many properties are also encouraging mobile check-in and check-out.

Please note that some amenities (pool, fitness center, food/beverage outlets, etc.) and services (valet, shuttle, bell service, etc.) may not be available or at limited capacity. Visitors are encouraged to contact lodging properties directly with specific questions regarding their cleaning and safety protocols.

Brand Hotel Cleaning Programs
Best Western We Care Clean 
Choice Hotels Commitment to Clean
Hilton’s CleanStay
IHG Clean Promise
Marriott’s Commitment to Clean
Radisson Safety Protocol 
Red Roof RediClean
Wyndam’s Count on Us

Other Safety Guidance Programs
AHLA Safe Stay
Air BnB Enhanced Cleaning Initiative
Vacation Rental Management Association Cleaning Guidelines

Wilmington International Airport Safety Measures
Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is committed to making travel as safe as possible with enhanced safety measures, cleaning and disinfecting. Learn more about how ILM is going above and beyond to create a safe and healthy airport at ILM Safe Travels.

Count On Me NC

“Count on Me NC” is a statewide public health initiative program. A joint partnership between North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, Visit NC and North Carolina State University, the public-private partnership provides specific guidance to restaurants, hotels, and other public-facing businesses on best cleaning practices and safety protocols. Centered around an evidence-based training program, “Count on Me” incorporates the best available science, and all training and materials follow a rigorous content development and review process. The program is also designed to empower customers to make a commitment to do their part to help keep everyone safe and healthy. Wilmington and Beaches travel partners have the opportunity to participate in training courses and earn “Count on Me NC” seals to display at their businesses. Find a map and list here of our Count on Me NC travel and related businesses who have completed industry-specific COVID-19 training, and check back for a regularly updated list.

Restaurants/Bars/Nightclubs

Restaurants in North Carolina and in Wilmington and our island beaches can open for on-premise dining (indoors/outdoors) with limits on capacity. Breweries, wineries and distilleries can open under the same enhanced requirements that restaurants must follow. Face coverings for employees and customers are required. Bars' outdoor seating areas may reopen, subject to capacity limits and other restrictions. Indoor bar areas remain closed. Nightclubs and lounges can open subject to reduced capacity limits and other requirements [see EO 169 FAQs].  Delivery, take-out, curbside pickup and carry-out food purchases are still viable options and encouraged.

In accordance with the Governors’ orders, restaurants must end the sale of alcoholic beverages at 11 p.m. for consumption on site. This order does not affect sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption off premises, therefore takeout and delivery of beer and wine in closed containers is still allowed until 2 a.m. Please check specific restaurant websites and social media pages, or contact the business directly to confirm what services they are offering. View our list of restaurants in the area.

The Downtown Alive experience is perfect for social distancing and features open-air shopping and expanded outdoor, alfresco dining in downtown Wilmington. Advance reservations with participating restaurants are encouraged.

Places of Interest & Things to do

Beaches are open for normal activities in Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville Beach. Public parks, gardens and playgrounds are open throughout the area. Wilmington's Riverwalk and Historic District are available for strolling. Retail stores, restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries are open with some limited capacity. Museums and aquariums may open at 50% capacity. Gyms, indoor exercise facilities, bowling alleys, skating rinks, indoor basketball, volleyball, etc. may open at 30% capacity. Bars' outdoor areas, nightclubs, movie theaters, amusement parks and indoor entertainment venues can open with capacity limits and other restrictions [see EO 169 FAQs]. Visitors must comply with social distancing and group gathering protocols - no more than 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. As Phase 3 allows more attractions to re-open, hours of operation and paid admissions will vary so please contact the attractions directly for information prior to travel.

VIRTUAL TOURS & EVENTS

If your travel plans are on hold, immerse yourself in the best of our virtual experiences - from our home to yours.

COVID-19 Hospitality Employer & Employee Info

The Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau has comprised a list of helpful hospitality employer and employee resources available including assistance programs, relief funds and more.

Fall (the New Summer) Travel & Trip Ideas

We will continue to share updates and resources with our travelers on an on-going basis as the situation changes. For future travel planning, please check out our seasonal trip ideas, and experience the sights of Wilmington and our beaches by clicking the images below.

Be well, travel safely and responsibly, and stay tuned.