Eureka Springs hotels and inns start to reopen in Arkansas

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. -- Filling just one of five rooms this week is a few below average at Arsenic And Old Lace Bed And Breakfast Inn. But innkeeper Doug Breitling will take it.

"When you get used to having guests all the time, when they're not here you really miss them," Breitling said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson banned out-of-state travelers April 4, but May 5 that ban ended. Breitling reopened that week.

Still, people who were in places such as New York or New Orleans within the last two weeks cannot come.

"We try to make sure that everybody is safe.," Breitling said.

The B&B doesn't turn around the rooms the same day any more.

"All we do is strip the linens out of it, and then we let it sit," Breitling said.

The housekeeper uses an ozone machine to kill bacteria, then hours later cleans it, and another guest can't book it until a day later. It's an even longer gap at the nearby Crescent Hotel.

"That room will be down for 48 hours," said Jack Moyer, the executive vice president of the hotel.

Staff, like at Arsenic and Old Lace, sanitize all surfaces in the room. The Crescent is only open weekends for now.

"We are on a path to normal," Moyer said.

The historic hotel reopened last Friday at 50 percent capacity. All those rooms were booked.

"People are ready to travel. That's what we know," Moyer said.

This weekend, that expands to two-thirds capacity, showing confidence in an important industry slowly making a comeback.

"We have a safety officer here. We temperature check every employee. Guests who check in get these fun little masks. It put our customers at ease knowing that we were taking it seriously," Moyer said.

The Crescent Hotel hopes to reopen all rooms, and even ghost tours by June 5, and bring all employees back by June 15.