Of school field trips, Hidek said that many North Carolina public school systems are canceling field trips this spring or limiting them to within their own counties.
"This has led to cancellations at the Battleship," Hidek said.
Future field trips to Cape Fear Museum had not been canceled as of early Thursday afternoon, but the museum did postpone an event.
"The health, safety and well-being of our visitors is our top priority at Cape Fear Museum. Out of an abundance of caution, our Experience STEM-ILM 2.0 event for tomorrow, March 12 has been postponed," officials stated in a release. "As recommended by New Hanover County officials, social distancing is encouraged and event planners should take extra steps to prevent the impact of COVID-19 in our area."
Earlier this week, Wilmington International Airport officials said a nonstop flight to Chicago between ILM and Chicago O'Hare will be subject to a two-month suspension beginning in April because of a decrease in air travel demand brought about by the coronavirus.
At least one nonprofit in the region is also being affected by canceled travel plans.
Typically in the spring, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry, which has rebuilt more than 1,350 homes in its 24-year history, welcomes university students for spring break volunteer trips.
Some of the students come from as far away as Indiana and North Dakota.
But the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a change.
"This year, spring and summer out-of-town teams from 27 states are registered to visit our region to volunteer with WARM," stated a news release this week from the group. "Due to fear of COVID-19, many of the teams are not allowed to travel or are choosing not to make the trip."
JC Lyle, WARM's executive director, said in the release, “While we have amazing local volunteers year-round, we rely heavily on the Spring Breakers this time of year. Many bring 20-40 people and work on four or more homes during their week here. Having three teams cancel so far, and more expected, will slow us down tremendously. These families, who have already waited 18 months, are very disappointed they will have to wait even longer.”
This week, three teams from universities in Massachusetts, Florida and Georgia canceled their trips. These volunteers would have worked on a combined five homes damaged by Hurricane Florence, according to the release.
"In Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender Counties, approximately 325 homeowners wait on the Hurricane Florence lists of various nonprofits and faith-based home repair ministries," the release stated. "New applications are still coming in weekly as people exhaust all their resources and realize they can’t recover on their own."
As a result of the canceled trips and the need, WARM is ramping up volunteer recruitment efforts for local and out-of-town individuals and teams, the release stated.
Earlier Thursday, New Hanover County Schools issued a statement about postponements and cancellations, including the postponing of its annual Best Foot Forward talent showcase that had been scheduled Friday for the Wilson Center.
"Organizers are researching alternative date and venue options," according to a news release from NHCS. "In-district NHCS sanctioned field trips will occur as scheduled. All out-of-district NHCS sanctioned field trips are canceled as of Monday, March 16, 2020. Exceptions will be reviewed by the Interim Superintendent’s designee on a case-by-case basis per principal’s request."
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