Lodging slowly resumes after coronavirus closures


Swain County has hardly been bustling since mid-March when government orders sent people to quarantine at home to prevent a surge of coronavirus cases. This past weekend, many of those restrictions were lifted including a local order that prevented renting rooms at hotels or vacation homes.

Reopening Swain County to tourism and commerce is proving to be a slow process. This past weekend, more businesses were open and there were visitors strolling down Everett Street or hiking in Deep Creek. Other businesses, like hair salons, are awaiting the state’s Phase 2 of reopening and others are just waiting for business to increase.

Among lodging owners and managers, several reported renting out some rooms this past weekend while others say they are waiting to reopen. The following responded to a query from Mary Anne Baker with Swain County Tourism and Development Authority through a Facebook group.

McKinley Edwards Inn sold two rooms. Tim Goodwin of Watershed Cabins said they reopened this past weekend and has 25 arrivals among 80 active units.

“Our numbers were slightly less than half of the same weekend last year, but we were happy with that considering we didn’t even make an announcement that we were opening,” he said. “All this business was organic.”

Great Smokys Cabin Rentals reopened last weekend as well with several reservations, according to Janet Carter.

The Hampton Inn and The Chestnut Inn in Cherokee plan to reopen on May 22, as will The Fryemont Inn in Bryson City. Folkestone Inn and Sixty-One Park will be waiting a couple more weeks to open.