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Biltmore Estate restricts reopening: Top city tourism draw limits admission to WNC passholders
Monday, 18 May 2020 22:08

From Staff Reports


The Biltmore Estate, the Asheville area’s largest tourism draw, began its phased reopening on May 9.

Specifically, the first-phase of the plan allows entry only to Bilmore annual pass-holders who live in Western North Carolina, as the estate noted it is continuing to follow guidance from Gov. Roy Cooper and Buncombe County officials.

Biltmore, which draws about 1.4 million visitors annually, announced it would temporarily close, effective March 26, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the estate’s first closure since World War II.

Buncombe County reportedly hosts nearly 11 million tourists annually— and the estate is widely credited with playing a key role in driving that economic engine.

Biltmore’s temporary closure resulted in a 95 percent drop in revenues and forced the estate to furlough 2,200 of its 2,500 workers. The partial reopening will not result in massive rehiring yet.

Despite the estate’s phased reopening of the grounds on May 9, the 250-room Biltmore House will remain closed “until government mandates are updated,” a Biltmore press release noted.

Other estate experiences, including the Downton Abbey exhibition, will remain closed. Once reopened, the exhibition will be extended through Sept. 7, the estate release asserted.

Under the reopening plan, the estate limits visitation, even among pass-holders. “In consideration of social distancing and mass-gathering mandates, admission will be limited to annual pass-holders, by reservation only, at this time,” the release stated.



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