National Harbor prepares to reopen after water scare

UPDATE: Wednesday – 7/17/2013, 9:12pm ET

WASHINGTON – Wyndham Vacation Resorts at National Harbor says it will remain closed until Friday.

In a statement posted on its website the hotel says “We are delighted to announce that Prince George’s County has found a workaround to the water issue. Wyndham Vacation Resorts at National Harbor will be opening and welcoming guests starting Friday July 19.”

UPDATE – Wednesday – 7/17/2013, 2:38pm ET

WASHINGTON — The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center will remain closed through Wednesday, but will reopen Thursday after the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said water will not be cut off for thousands of Prince George’s County residents and businesses.

Guests can start checking in Thursday at 10 a.m., the resort says in a tweet:


Back in business

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Thomas Warren, WTOP



EARLIER – Wednesday – 7/17/2013, 9:05am ET

WASHINGTON — As Prince George’s County braces for a massive water outage, businesses in National Harbor, Md., are preparing to shut their doors during the height of tourist season.

Hotels, restaurants and even the National Children’s Museum will be closed starting Wednesday as the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission prepares to repair a 54-inch water line.

Most hotels already have alerted customers to the outage, and many are working to cancel or reschedule reservations.

Guests should not expect hotels to rely on backup water systems.

“With the quantity of water hotels use, which is remarkable when you think of the number of rooms and restaurants, the reserves are relatively minor,” says Kent Digby, senior vice president of operations for National Harbor.

Residence Inn by Marriott is formally shutting down Wednesday at noon, and will allow guests to check out early without penalty. About 95 percent of hotel capacity is being impacted by the water outage, a spokesman says.

Tuesday afternoon, staff members at Wyndham Vacation Resorts were escorting guests out of their rooms, a hotel employee said. The resort’s site says it will be closed through Thursday.

Jarrell Chance with Hampton Inn & Suites says his hotel is also allowing guests to cancel their reservations without penalty. Those who have chosen to remain in the building have been asked to conserve water in the hours leading up to the outage.

“When you look at the businesses here and surrounding neighborhood, it’s a considerable loss,” Digby says. “This is prime time to do business.”

Digby estimates that the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, which will be closed until Sunday, plus the 95 businesses operating at the center, will lose “several hundred thousand dollars per day” during the mandatory outage.

Already Digby has seen people walking around National Harbor carrying water bottles and coolers. Starting on Wednesday, free parking will be provided for anyone who just wants to take a stroll near the water. All businesses will be closed, however.

Scott Petersen, a spokesman for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, says health department workers went from restaurant to restaurant in the area affected by the outage to inform each it could not operate without running water.

“There is going to be a major economic impact, especially south-county, that will rival a natural disaster hitting the county,” Petersen says.

Repairs could take up to several days, and about 150,000 customers will be without water.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t an imminent problem with this pipe, WSSC spokesman Jim Neustadt told WTOP Tuesday afternoon.

Mandatory restrictions began Tuesday at 9 p.m. Affected areas will have water for 12 to 15 hours after water is shut down.

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