State takes "dimmer switch" approach to easing restrictions
N.C. Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 195 lifting some Phase 3 restrictions. The order is in effective until March 26, 2021 to address the on-going public health emergency. Face masks or face coverings are required in all indoor settings if there are non-household members present, regardless of the distance away and when out in public or in public areas 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 non-household members, 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. Highlights of Executive Order 195 include:
- Statewide modified stay at home order from 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. is lifted.
- Capacity restrictions for meetings and events at hotels, convention centers and event venues remain at 30% but increase from 100 people to 250 people, whichever is less.
- Indoor gathering limits are increased to 25; outdoor gathering limits remain at 50%
- Bars can open at 30% or 250 people for indoor service, whichever is less.
- Alcohol sales for on-site consumption can be served until 11 p.m.. Beer, wine and mixed drinks in closed containers can be sold for off-site consumption adhering to local laws.
- Indoor areas of amusement parks may reopen, subject to reduced capacity limits and other requirements.
The following guidelines are still in place and the mask mandate is still a requirement for all indoor settings:
- Restaurants can open for indoor/outdoor dining at 50% capacity. Guests are required to wear face coverings at their table unless actively eating or drinking.
- 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.
- Museums and aquariums can open at 50% capacity.
- Fitness/gyms and competitive physical activity facilities can open at 30% capacity.
- 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.
- 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 face covering requirements are now enforceable by law.
Executive Order 195 and Executive Order 195 FAQs
The three island beaches are open and following state and CDC guidelines.
All lodging in Wilmington and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach are open.
- 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.
- Information regarding the most recent updates can be found on the City of Wilmington COVID-19 FAQs page.
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
IHG Clean Promise
Marriott’s Commitment to Clean
Radisson Safety Protocol
Red Roof RediClean
Wyndam’s Count on Us
Other Hotel Cleaning Programs
Blockade Runner Beach Resort
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 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 are mandatory. Guests are required to wear face coverings at all times unless they are actively eating or drinking. Bars' indoor seating areas can open, subject to capacity limits and other restrictions. Nightclubs and lounges can open subject to reduced capacity limits and other requirements. Delivery, take-out, curbside pickup and carry-out food purchases are still viable options.
In accordance with the Governor's 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. Restaurants and bars are allowed to sell mixed drinks for take-out and delivery. 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 including many with outdoor dining available.
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, nightclubs, movie theaters, amusement parks and indoor entertainment venues can open with capacity limits and other restrictions. Visitors must comply with social distancing and group gathering protocols - no more than 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. As the easing of restrictions change, hours of operation and paid admissions will vary so please contact the attractions directly for information prior to travel.
Seasonal 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.
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.
Be well, travel safely and responsibly, and stay tuned.