VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It is the unofficial start of summer, and this is the time of year that vacationers pack the boardwalk and beaches. City officials hope this year isn’t any different.
“We’re Open!” That’s the name of the campaign geared toward welcoming tourists back to Virginia Beach.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau created the new advertisement which is running in cities up and down the mid-Atlantic. The goal is for people who are close to Virginia Beach, to drive down for a quick weekend or a week-long vacation.
The ad is currently playing on televisions up and down the east coast in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and in North Carolina. City officials said for the time being, because of COVID-19, they put a pause on playing the ad in the Baltimore and DC markets.
“We are really trying hard to make the beach safe and comfortable and we are working around the clock,” Erin Goldmeier said.
Goldmeier is with Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. She said the campaign is a chance to show people this is a safe place to visit.
“Our goal here is to just let people know that when you are ready to get in the car and take a trip, get out of town, when you feel comfortable doing that... that we are ready to welcome you,” she explained.
Most local businesses said they are thrilled to welcome back tourists. They said they need the business.
“Nothing can replace that tourism industry during the summer. A lot of businesses succeed or fail based on summer sales and they are eager to get reopened in a safe manner,” explained Executive Director of Vibe Creative District, Kate Pittman.
While some people say they are a little hesitant to welcome tourists from other states, Pittman said city leaders and business owners are doing as much as they can to keep everyone safe.
“You’ll notice a lot of the local businesses have adapted what they are doing. North End Bag [Company] is now making masks for people to have that is now the new normal, and Chesapeake Bay Distillery is part of the hand sanitizer movement,” Pittman explained.
Officials said no matter if you’re a visitor or local, Virginia Beach is open.
Social distancing rules are still in effect. Crews have also increased cleaning measures and beach ambassadors are also standing at beach entrances if you have questions or concerns.