ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – Although the look for how many of us vacation has changed. Now the suggestions for social distancing of at least six feet, disinfectant being readily available almost everywhere, and requirements to wear masks in public places are in effect.
But in Asheville, businesses of all kinds have been changing operations to helping you adjust to the new normal. One of those changes is through a commitment to safety, Dodie Stephens, Director of Communications for Explore Asheville, said.
“We have joined together with local businesses, restaurants and attractions and have created the Asheville Cares Stay Safe Pledge. What the pledge does, it allows us to welcome visitors to the community. But also, to say to everyone, that this is a shared responsibility,” Stephens said.
The pledge involves businesses and guests agree to several safety precautions:
- wash or sanitize hands
- wear face coverings, a North Carolina mandate
- follow social distancing and capacity guidelines
One of those businesses, Hotel Arras, is where General Manager David McCartney explained that his dog friendly, 128 room hotel has figured out ways how to keep social distancing, cleanliness, and guest comfort as top priorities for guests.
“Asheville is in all it’s natural beauty is still the same place. We have Art Deco buildings and history and out door spaces and the mountains and the rivers and the lakes. We have the Biltmore estate. It’s all still here,” McCartney said.
He explained that in addition to employees receiving temperature checks before shifts, disinfecting “high touch areas” (light switches, railings, and door handles) hourly, they’ve even removed what they’re calling “non-essential items”.
“So a notepad and a pen. There might always be a plastic bag for dirty laundry in the closet, we removed that as well. So things that didn’t necessarily have to be in a room that could be touched by previous guests, that maybe aren’t easy to disinfect. We removed those from the room to help people feel safe,” McCartney said.
Stephens added that when you do head out on the town, it’s best to not to get stuck on just going to one specific location.
“My number one tip is to kinda have: Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. You know, other people have that idea that they want to get out as well. So, if you’re going to a trail or an overlook and you get there and it’s kinda busy, have some other ideas in your back pocket. So that you can stay safe and keep everyone around you safe as well,” Stephens said.
The hotel’s bar, patio, and restaurant are all practicing social distancing. Plus, there is one guaranteed social distancing location, the elevator, which guarantees solitude.
Guests choose what floor they want to land at before getting into the cab. After choosing the floor, guests are taken directly to their desired floor with no pit stops to pick up other guests.
Speaking of rooms, whether it’s a traditional room or suite, everything is Asheville. The room’s decor is local commissioned work from Asheville artists, the room design gives nod to historic Asheville architecture, and of course the views from every window that looks over downtown and the mountain range make it all Asheville.
Between the hotel stay, businesses encouraging safe practices, and several outdoor locations that allow for social distancing, Stephens said that wherever you go, it’s best to have your mask and a plan ready.
“Each business has different practices and protocols in place to keep you safe. So it’s great to do a little research ahead to understand what you’re walking into so that way you can be safe. Then you can also help those businesses protect their employees and their communities and stay open,” Stephens said.