Sunday, July 3, 2022

Labor Day Weekend: How the Historic Triangle plans to deal with tourism during the coronavirus

Labor Day weekend starts Friday. So how does Williamsburg plan to deal with the holiday weekend? (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)
Labor Day weekend starts Friday. So how does Williamsburg plan to deal with the holiday weekend? (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)

Labor Day weekend starts Friday. While the federal holiday is associated with cookouts, road trips and the last beach weekend before school starts, things may look a bit different this year for those wanting to travel particularly to the Historic Triangle.

One word: Coronavirus.

Gov. Ralph Northam this week decided to keep the current extra restrictions in Hampton Roads and on the Peninsula, which stops alcohol sales at 10 p.m. limits indoor restaurant capacity to 50 percent and bans gatherings of more than 50 people.

The restrictions specifically apply to Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News and Poquoson.

The announcement comes days after Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer wrote a letter to Northam asking the governor to ease restrictions for Labor Day weekend.

The restrictions started in July after COVID-19 cases started spiking in Hampton Roads and on the Peninsula after July 4 weekend.

So now that the restrictions are still in place for the holiday weekend, what does the Williamsburg Tourism Council and the Williamsburg City Council plan to do?

“Visit Williamsburg is a destination marketing organization; its primary role is to drive overnight visitation through its promotional efforts,” said Williamsburg Tourism Council CEO Victoria Cimino in a prepared statement. “As policy issues arise, Visit Williamsburg informs its board of directors so that individuals can advocate as they deem appropriate.”

It’s unclear if the tourism council or its board of directors reached out to Northam — Cimino did not elaborate further.

Cimino noted visitors are encouraged to take “necessary precautions” and to “follow the best practices” and guidance from the local and state government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as information from businesses and attractions.

“Communicating new procedures aimed at safe travel has been one of Visit Williamsburg’s most important functions,” Cimino said. “In May, a new landing page was launched on visitwilliamsburg.com that communicates new safety/operational procedures businesses have implemented, including touchless entry points, physical barriers, social distancing enforcement, and more.”

The Williamsburg City Council did not reach out to Northam to ease restrictions for Labor Day weekend either.

“We have not reached out to Gov. Northam to my knowledge,” said Councilman Caleb Rogers, adding he would check with the other members of council.

A few hours later, he confirmed none of the council members had reached out to Northam.

“We have not sent any letters or requests to the governor to relax restrictions and our plans, precautions for Labor Day are adhering to the governor’s current restrictions,” he added.

As of Thursday, there are 123,668 cases, 9,741 hospitalizations and 2,652 deaths statewide, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The numbers for the Historic Triangle are below.

The latest coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the Historic Triangle from the Virginia Department of Health. (WYDaily/ Julia Marsigliano)
The latest coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the Historic Triangle from the Virginia Department of Health. (WYDaily/ Julia Marsigliano)

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Julia Marsiglianohttp://wydaily.com
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to julia@localvoicemedia.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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