White Sulphur Springs (WVVA) - Greenbrier County's largest employer The Greenbrier is reopening on Friday. The reopening helps employees at The Greenbrier and businesses in the surrounding areas, which rely on tourists drawn by the large resort.
Greenbrier Outfitters is an outdoor excursion company, which does everything from climbing to kayaking to falconry. CEO Duane Zobrist says his company has had a partnership with The Greenbrier for 27 years, providing off-grounds excursions for guests. Zobrist explains saying, "We’re important to their opening because we give their guests something to do outside. And you know we have a symbiotic relationship, and they’re important to us because they bring guests in for us as well."
The reopening of Greenbrier Outfitters also corresponds with Governor Jim Justice's (R-WV) order to allow outdoor rentals using Coronavirus guidelines starting Thursday.
Daniel Muller, VP of eastern operations at Greenbrier Outfitters said sanitation was always a part of outdoor rentals and new guidelines will not change business much. Muller said new practices are that caps must be worn underneath helmets and the number of people allowed per transport van must decrease. "Social distancing happens naturally when you’re outdoors having fun," said Muller.
And while the company may have an easier time than some implementing new Coronavirus guidelines, this time period has not been easy for the company. Zobrist said the company has gotten by with Paycheck Protection Program loans. "We never thought that the shutdowns would go this far and this deep and this long. So, it’s been challenging."
As for the future, Zobrist said his outlook is positive due to a Travel Pulse survey, which says 40 percent of travelers would book a hotel stay by Day 30 of the reopening process.