Local bed and breakfast inns try to keep beds filled while pandemic forces many hotels to close

Posted at 9:08 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 22:51:43-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The owners of the Page House Inn in Norfolk were looking forward to their peak season.

“In the springtime, we have parents coming in for graduations at ODU and EVMS,” said Donya Cobb. She’s one of the co-owners at Page House.

They were also expecting tourists in town to see local museums and events downtown. But now, most of their beds are empty.

“[We're] a little scared but feeling very optimistic because we are a small inn, so our overhead isn’t as big as some of the larger places,” Cobb adds.

Inns on the Peninsula are also feeling the effects of the pandemic.

“It has almost completely stopped business almost 100%,” said Amy Demetry.

Demetry runs things at Marl Inn Bed and Breakfast in Yorktown.

“It’s been pretty brutal with all the cancellations,” she adds.

But the essential workers who still have a job to get done are helping fill some of their rooms.

“They are engineers and they are working on the Coleman Bridge, so I’ve rented two rooms for three nights,” Demetry adds.

Over in Hampton, The Magnolia House Inn had to lock its doors. In a statement to News 3, they said, “Our business is in critical condition, as all guestroom reservations up to July 1, 2020, have been canceled and 75% have not re-booked.”

Leaders in the industry say they are not alone.

“We’ve had over 130 close across the state. Almost 16,000 rooms have closed,” said Eric Terry with the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association.

For the ones that are still open for business, they say consider them if you’re looking for a change of environment that’s still indoors.

“The way our bed and breakfast is set up, we don’t really have a common area on the inside; it's all private entrance to the outside,” said Demetry.

The owners with Page Inn say, “We are just being very cautious. Being a small inn, it's very easy for our guests to do social distancing if they need to."

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