Coronavirus in Gatlinburg, TN
We have created this Gatlinburg Coronavirus (covid-19) page to answer questions for existing visitors and potential future visitors who may be traveling to the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the Sevier County area. Please check back for daily Gatlinburg Coronavirus updates.
Update 04/02/2020 – Governor Lee implements Executive Order 22 closing non-essential businesses. Restaurants are allowed to remain open for curbside service. The Mayors of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are urging the area to shelter in place and increased practicing of social distancing. The National Park is closed to visitors indefinitely, but will re-open when safe. The Spur connecting Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge as well as Foothills Parkway which travels through the National Park will remain open. Closures include roads, hiking trails, Park Service visitor centers, area rest rooms, camp grounds and shelters are closed. Most attractions in the area are now temporarily closed including Anakeesta, The Distilliries, Dollywood, Ober Gatlinburg, The Dixie Stampede, The Titanic Museum, The Aquarium, The Sky Bridge and the major Dinner Shows/Diner Theaters. Grocery stores, Pharmacies and essential services are open. Restaurants are closed, however, many area restaurants are offering curb side pick up service (some may have limited hours and limited menus).
Considering a vacation to the Gatlinburg area?
If you are worried about the risk of exposure in public spaces, we have created a 3 night – 2 day Gatlinburg getaway vacation itinerary designed to take advantage of the amazing hikes, views and activities in the area while avoiding potentially crowded public spaces.
Traveling with a group? Check out our custom designed 5 night, 4 day Gatlinburg Vacation Itinerary that’s off the grid and avoids public spaces.
What are we doing to make your Gatlinburg Cabin Vacation more safe?
- Extra Housekeeping – As with the regional flu outbreaks in recent years, we are taking extra precautions by sanitizing door knobs, faucet handles, remote controls, clocks, cabinet hardware as well as commonly used surfaces.
- Extra Dishwasher Tablets and Laundry Detergents – after check-in should you want to re-wash dishes and glassware we are providing extra dishwasher tablets to do so. We also are providing extra laundry detergent should you want to wash the linens again – (*note: linens and towels are washed in our commercial facility prior to each check in regardless if the linens appear to have been used or not). Each cabin includes a dishwasher and washer/dryer.
- Employee Monitoring and Paid Sick Leave – Again, as with the regional flue outbreaks, we are monitoring staff flu like symptoms and do not allow staff members to work while sick and for a specified time after the symptoms subside. We also provide paid sick leave to employees don’t have to work while their health is compromised.
- Commercial Laundry – We utilize our own commercial laundry which is monitored and controlled by Ecolab to ensure our linens are sanitized via proper chemical and temperature. Our linens do not leave our care so we can be assured it is sanitized while minimizing exposure to infected individuals.
What are the Experts saying?
- Avoid close personal contact: Infectious Disease expert Charles Chiu, MD, PHD in an article published by the University of California San Francisco notes that “The principal mode of transmission is still thought to be respiratory droplets, which may travel up to six feet from someone who is sneezing or coughing. The new coronavirus isn’t believed to be an airborne virus, like measles or smallpox, that can circulate through the air. ‘If you have an infected person in the front of the plane, for instance, and you’re in the back of the plane, your risk is close to zero simply because the area of exposure is thought to be roughly six feet from the infected person,’ said Chiu”. Click here for the full article.
- We advise all future and current guests to refer to the CDC for comprehensive expert advice at their special covid-19 website pages.
Elements of a trip to the Gatlinburg area that may reduce your risk of exposure to the coronavirus while on vacation:
- The Gatlinburg area is a drive destination so human to human contact, which according to health experts is poses the highest exposure risk, with unfamiliar people in congested public places such as an airport or closer exposure on an airplane are minimized. Most visitors to the Gatlinburg area travel by car. Travelling in personal vehicles keeps human to human contact with unfamiliar people keeps exposure risk to a minimum, as opposed to air travel which presents congested public places and unintentional contact with strangers in enclosed spaces.
- There are no common area elements when staying in a cabin in Gatlinburg with exposure to unknown guests. Each cabin is it’s own individual home. When staying in a cabin there is a private entrance to each cabin from a private exterior parking area. There is no common lobby area, no elevators and no communal dining room shared among guests in other cabins therefor lessening the risk of exposure to unknown guests.
- Each of our luxury cabins have their own kitchen, bathrooms and dining rooms. While eating out at a restaurant is an option, however, with increased exposure to unfamiliar people at restaurants we do offer as standard in each cabin a vacation option where you can prepare in cabin meals and enjoy group dining in your in-cabin private dining area. All of our luxury cabins have kitchens that include a full set of appliances including a stove, refrigerator, oven, toaster, blender, mixer and microwave. We also include pots, pans, utensils, baking sheets, mixing bowls and storage containers that are cleaned before and after each guests stay by our housekeeping staff.
Our area offers the opportunity to enjoy yourself while avoiding crowded indoor environments. In particular The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the #1 visited park in the United States and there are 3 convenient entrances to the Park offering amazing hikes, waterfalls, streams, motor tours and vistas. For reference you can use the Sugarlands, Cosby and Greenbrier entrances to the National Park depending on your choice of hiking trail. Please see our Things To Do In Gatlinburg section on our website for more information.
What pro-active steps are we doing?
- Over the last several years there have been significant regional flu outbreaks in the Southeast. As such, we have always followed a strict Staff protocol should an employee or contractor be present with symptoms of a contagious illness. We are not testing this protocol as this protocol is something we had previously implemented as part of a responsible customer-facing hospitality plan. As a business we provide paid sick leave for those suffering with flu-like symptoms so no employee is faced with the decision to work through sickness for economic reasons. We continue to be diligent with this protocol given covid-19 has elevated risks.
- Laundry: Many property managers and hotels use a 3rd party linen service to launder and handle their linens and towels. To further mitigate risk we maintain an in-house laundry facility where we control the cleaning, sanitizing, handling and storage of our own linens. This allows us to eliminate the outside, unknown contaminants that may be introduced through the outsourcing of linen services in much of the hospitality industry. Our linens are handled by our own staff , in our own facility, using our own commercial equipment which is digitally monitored by Eco-Lab with temperature and chemical controls for proper sanitation.
- Extra Housekeeping: As we do in the event of flu outbreaks, we have increased our standard cleaning after each guest departure to sanitize surfaces such as door knobs, remote controls, digital clocks, faucets and other commonly touched and forgotten surfaces. We do run dishes through the dishwasher, but we will be providing extra dishwasher packs should guests feel the need to run all dishware, place settings and glassware through the dishwasher cycles as an extra precaution upon checking in. Our Gatlinburg cabin rentals also are equipped with washer / dryers. Guests are welcome to wash our linens as a precaution if concerned.
Do you have questions or concerns? Please contact us if you do. Thank you!Contact Us