Colonial Williamsburg eyes limited reopening in Phase 2
No additional furloughs, foundation announces.
Colonial Williamsburg is remaining mostly closed the rest of May, but portions of the historic area and art museums will reopen in early June as Virginia moves into Phase Two of Gov. Ralph Northam’s “Forward Virginia” plan.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in a news release Thursday, announced that Chowning’s Tavern will open its outdoor seating area on weekends starting Saturday, May 23. The Williamsburg Craft House in Merchants Square opened May 15, when most of the state entered Phase One of Northam’s reopening plan.
Additional furloughs are not expected, the foundation said in the news release. In March and April, more than 700 employees were placed on paid administrative leave and then furloughed as closures continued into May to curb the spread of COVID-19. Colonial Williamsburg will call back furloughed workers and those on leave as they’re needed during the phased reopening, and will continue to pay for health insurance coverage for covered employees, the foundation said in its news release.
Hotels and other facilities will expand operations as needed to fulfill demand, and Merchants Square retail stores and restaurants are expected to reopen by June 1, the foundation said. Before reopening, Colonial Williamsburg workers will go through safety training, and the foundation will release more details soon about its reopening timeline and procedures for public programming.
“We wish we could open all of our doors and welcome everyone to a full Colonial Williamsburg experience, but doing so safely requires that we follow a carefully considered plan that includes collaboration with local and regional governments and other key organizations,” Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Cliff Fleet said in a statement. “Over the next month, we plan to take further steps toward reopening our museums and more of our hospitality facilities.”