Chesapeake Bay resort guests want to ‘get back to feeling normal’

Things are looking up at a waterfront resort in southern Maryland, as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease and businesses work to recover.

The Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort sits on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Chesapeake Beach, and includes a hotel, restaurants and a marina.

“We’re seeing people that want to get out, and they want to enjoy the sun, they want to enjoy dining and they want to get back to feeling normal,” Chief Operating Officer Mark Giangiulio said.

When virus-related shutdowns were first ordered in March, the resort quickly began offering carryout meals. It opened outdoor dining at 50% capacity as soon as the state allowed two weeks ago, and it has been popular. On Friday, it added live outdoor music and limited indoor dining.

The hotel was sold out last weekend, Giangiulio said, and this weekend it is busy with Friday and Saturday being completely booked.

When guests arrive, they are given a welcome kit with complimentary hand sanitizer and masks.

Cleaning has been stepped up, and reusable items, such as glassware, pens and paper, have been removed from hotel rooms.

Chesapeake Beach is known for being a hub for charter fishing, and Giangiulio said guests are taking advantage.

“We’re seeing an increase in our rental business like kayaks, bicycles, Jet Skis, which we have here, and our pontoon boats because people want to get out and get on the water,” he said.

Also good news for the resort: It can begin to host outdoor weddings again in its catering tent at 50% capacity. That will allow for as many as 140 to 150 guests.

“It’s literally right on the bay, so when you’re sitting there, you get the breeze of the bay, and you’re looking right at the water,” said Giangiulio.

On June 19, the resort will also reopen its game rooms, which will offer pull-tab machines and live bingo.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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