Lighthouse Inn & Suites in Emerald Isle closes temporarily

EMERALD ISLE, NC (WITN) Officials in Carteret County are encouraging hotels and rental property companies to restrict reservations over the coming weeks, and with beaches and restaurants already closed, the effects of COVID-19 are forcing at least one more business to shut down as a result.

The Lighthouse Inn and Suites in Emerald Isle finally opened this past July. Owner Daisy Spell was looking forward to her first full spring and summer in operation along the coast. But just like many others, the coronavirus pandemic has forced a change of plans.

Spell says, “This is very bad for us. Very difficult. I struggled with it all night. I didn’t sleep much last night because of it.”

Officials in Carteret County have started encouraging hotel and property management companies to restrict reservations through at least April 6th.

Spell says, “I’m abiding by it. I don’t want to spread the disease more than anyone else does.”

Spell says the decision was made in part because of pressure from community members to close. “I got a few rough phone calls. My staff doesn’t need to hear things like that.”

Spell says the hotel was a lifelong dream for her late husband and after hurricanes and tornadoes delayed construction, they haven’t even been open a year.

Spell says, “It’s just one thing after another.”

With no money coming in Spell was forced to lay off her staff for the time being.

Spell says, “Some of them haven’t worked long enough. We’re not sure if they’re going to be able to get unemployment.”

Spell plans to do all she can to help those employees and she hopes come back. She says she’s going to pay them for at least the next two weeks but because of the uncertain timeline, she doesn’t know how long she’ll be able to do that.

She also says that all of her staff members were very understanding of the situation, and all of them said they do plan to come back whenever they re-open.