The Charleston (West Virginia) Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced that recent tests clearing its drinking water have allowed businesses, including the hotels and restaurants catering to the meeting and events industry, to reopen and that West Virginia American Water continues to work to restore the water supply to safe levels in all parts of the region following a recent chemical leak.

“While we are familiar with weather-related crises, this incident has been the most devastating on the Charleston tourism industry in recent history,” said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Charleston CVB. “We are very concerned for our frontline employees who have been without income for several days straight and for the negative impact this will have on our ability to attract new conventions and leisure travelers to Charleston.”

West Virginia American Water will continue lifting “no use” bans by designated zones throughout the region. All restaurants must gain approval following inspections by the health department before reopening.

The CVB is planning to launch a public relations campaign to ensure residents and visitors of the safety of the reopened hotels and restaurants, and to reach out to the tourism industry to help get the word out to the meetings and events industry that they are back in business. Bailey said the U.S. Travel Association, the Southeast Tourism Society, the West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association and several other convention and visitors bureaus have already begun to assist in the ongoing recovery effort.

“Our industry more than any other is rather like a close knit family,” Bailey said. “During times like these even our closest competitors are ready to help us get our economy back up.