Friday, April 12, 2024

Hotels, motels, country clubs can reopen with limitations as Wilmington lifts some restrictions

Mayor Bill Saffo shares an update on the city’s remaining coronavirus restrictions at a press conference Friday. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington has lifted several of its last remaining coronavirus-related restrictions; these were restrictions that went beyond the Governor’s stay-at-home order (which is currently in Phase 1 of being lifted).

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Effective 5 p.m. Friday, hotels, motels, country clubs, social clubs, outdoor sports facilities may reopen with certain limitations.

Lifted rules, standing rules

Previously closed to short-term occupants, hotels and motels in city limits may operate at 25% capacity. Outdoor team sports facilities are permitted to open to two on two play, with spectators will be allowed. Indoor gyms and team sports facilities will remain closed.

Country clubs and social clubs may open, but occupants are restricted to 10 people indoors, per Governor Coopers Order 120, which is still in effect. Dressing rooms will remain closed.

Auto and boat sales may continue under the guidance established by the city last week, following an 11-point protocol.

The City’s restrictions will remain in place through May 22 at 5 p.m. Governor Roy Cooper has yet to announce whether “phase two” of reopening, which would permit restaurants and personal care businesses to open with limitations, will begin on May 22.

Other updates

Wilmington has not adopted a mask policy for its own staff or members of the public. Mayor Bill Saffo explained the City simply doesn’t have the resources to enforce such a policy. Surf City, a town of about 2,500 people, is requiring masks to be worn in all enclosed public spaces.

“It’s an enforcement issue for us, first and foremost. We don’t have enough police officers to enforce everybody having to wear a mask. We’d be out there writing tickets all day long because there’s some people, no matter what you tell them, no matter what the facts are, no matter what the evidence is, they just refuse to wear a mask,” Saffo explained.

Still, the public is urged to wear masks and continue to maintain physical distancing, the mayor said. Saffo said he would like to see police officers wearing masks but that policy is ultimately up to the Wilmington Police Department.

Many municipal budgets are getting tighter as sales and occupancy taxes took a hit over the past few months. Though the city anticipates putting many planned capital projects on hold, Saffo said it has no plans to lay off staff.

Early on, Saffo said officials in the region took drastic measures to contain the spread. If the community continues to exercise caution in public, Saffo said additional restrictions can be prevented.

“If we can get used to this new norm, for the next couple of months or possibly a year until they find a vaccine, we’re going to be able to keep our economy going and not have to shut down,” he said. “What we do not want to do is to have to shut down the economy again.”

Mayor Bill Saffo reviews paperwork following the press conference in City Hall Friday. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Attendance was limited and seating for members of the press was spaced 6 ft. apart. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
City clerk Penny Spicer-Sidbury holds paperwork signed by the mayor following the press conference in City Hall Friday. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

View the City’s full press conference below:

Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee Still at

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