Napa Valley Reopening: What to Expect in the Covid-19 Era

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  • on DECEMBER 16, 2020
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Courtesy of Bob McClenahan Photography
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Updated January 26, 2021

Now that Napa County is no longer under a regional stay-at-home order, you may be wondering if it’s safe to visit Napa Valley. Rest assured that every business is doing their part to curb the spread of COVID-19.

When you feel ready to (safely) visit Napa Valley, you will be welcomed with open arms (figuratively, of course), though the experience will look differently. To help you navigate the new Napa experience, here are a few key guidelines and things to expect. For further updates on which businesses are open, please visit our pandemic news page.

In General

Courtesy of Anastasiia Chepinska | Unsplash

No Symptoms Allowed

It goes without saying, but if you expect businesses to follow the necessary health and safety protocols, you are required to exercise the same precaution. If you’re showing any signs of coronavirus whatsoever, you will be turned away. Some restaurants and wineries may even perform temperature checks (on employees and, in some cases, on guests) to further foster a safe environment.

Masks Required

Face coverings are required when inside any public place or business, as well as outdoors. This applies to restaurants and wineries, but once seated you’ll be able to remove your mask to sip or eat normally.

Physical Distancing is Mandatory

Whenever you’re in a public place, maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other people outside your party is required.

Expect Reduced Interactions

Less contact with servers and tasting room hosts has become the norm. Don’t be surprised to find hand-held menus replaced by those posted on a chalkboard, waters and wine pre-poured before your arrival, and other measures like contactless ordering from your phone to limit interactions between customers and servers. Many Napa wineries and restaurants have implemented contactless payment systems for tastings, food purchases, and bottles to-go.

Be Patient & Stay Flexible

The Covid-19 environment is new and constantly evolvoing, so it’s best to be patient and flexible when it comes to venturing out and about in Napa Valley. Businesses are operating under new processes and guidelines, so please pay attention to and heed all protocols.

What to Expect at Wineries

Courtesy of Bob McClenahan Photography

Tastings by Appointment

While many Napa Valley wineries have used an appointment-only model for years, once wineries reopen for in-person visits, expect to make a reservation in advance. This helps the wineries monitor customer flow to ensure they’re operating at a reduced capacity for safety reasons.

Small Groups Only

Time to book that long-awaited party bus with your friends? Not so fast. Once reopen, wineries will be restricting group sizes, so check with each winery when booking.

Socially Distant Wine Tasting

Crowded tasting rooms with standing-room only bars are a thing of the past. Tastings will take place in personal tasting areas at least six feet from other groups.

What to Expect at Restaurants

Courtesy of Jay Wennington | Unsplash

Outdoor Dining

Restaurants in Napa Valley are currently allowed to offer outdoor service, as well as takeout and delivery. Indoor in-person dining is not permitted at this time.

Reduced Occupancy

Limited seating, more space between tables, and increased sanitation between guests may result in longer wait times, so even if you’ve made a reservation, it’s best to be patient when dining out; if you do have to wait, it’s likely that the restaurant is simply following the proper protocols to ensure you can dine safely.

Limited Group Size

Once restaurants resume in-person dining, guidelines suggest limiting groups to small groups only.

What to Expect at Hotels

SENZA King Room, Courtesy of SENZA

Health and Safety Guidelines Will Be Communicated

All Napa Valley lodging establishments are sharing their health and safety protocols on their websites, so you know what to expect before making a reservation.

Flexible Cancellation

Most Napa Valley hotels and resorts are offering flexible cancellation policies to make future travel planning easier despite COVID restrictions.

Streamlined Check-in and Check-out

Many hotels have implemented new processes for checking in and out to minimize person-to-person interactions.

Increased Sanitation of all Public Places

Hotels have implemented rigid sanitation procedures that include increased sanitation of all public spaces, such as front desk check-in counters, lobby seating areas, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, room keys, gym equipment, and dining surfaces.

Limited Use of Amenities

Though you can still expect the same great hospitality from Napa hotels, note that the way some amenities and facilities operate may have changed. Many hotels have also implemented systems for using hotel amenities to allow for social distancing, such as reserving pool lounge chairs in advance or limited tee times. Per the latest guidelines, hotels are currently operating for essential travel only.

We recognize that Covid-19 is a serious health concern that impacts all of us, and when the time comes, the decision to travel to Napa Valley is ultimately your choice — and one we support either way.

Napa Valley Restaurants Reopen For Dine-In Service

Napa Valley Businesses: Who is Open and Closed


WineCountry Staff


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