Newport tourism industry slowly reopens after months of lost revenue

East Bay

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The city of Newport is slowly beginning to reopen some of its largest tourist attractions after losing millions in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eyewitness News previously reported that the pandemic has cost the city roughly $300 million.

“We’re going to be rebuilding one customer at a time,” Discover Newport CEO Evan Smith said. “Those early pioneers, the first to come out and travel, will be the ones to go back and report to people and say, ‘You know what, it’s okay out there. It’s actually pretty fun.'”

Those “early pioneers” could be seen enjoying Easton’s Beach when it reopened Thursday morning.

“Everybody is far enough on the beach, you’re not so close to each other,” beachgoer Rebecca Cabral said.

Despite the new restrictions, including wearing face masks while using beach facilities and practicing social distancing, the beach was filled to its limit shortly after it reopened at 9 a.m.

Erik Reis, Newport’s recreation administrator, said right now, the beach s operating at 33% capacity with only 300 cars allowed in the parking lot.

“Everyone is being pretty good as far as compliance and keeping a good space from one another,” Reis said.

Nearby, two of the city’s nine public mansions, The Breakers and The Elms, also reopened Thursday. Both mansions are operating under 25% of their overall capacities and face masks are required forentry.

The Preservation Society of Newport County said they have already sold 200 tickets for mansion tours, which can only be purchased online.

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