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

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  • on MARCH 2, 2021
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Napa Valley Reopening: What to Expect in the Covid-19 Era

By WineCountry Collective March 2, 2021

Good news! Napa Valley is open again!

As of June 15, Napa is fully open. Wineries, restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, and most everyday places are operating as normal – with no capacity limits or physical distancing required. However, everyone is still required to follow masking guidelines in select settings. Please visit our pandemic news page for further information.

Disclaimer: Please note this blog post is outdated, as California has lifted all restrictions. It’s still a good idea to contact businesses before visiting, though, to confirm hours and reservation guidelines.

In General

Unsplash | Anastasiia Chepinska
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash | Anastasiia Chepinska

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.

Masks Required

Face coverings are required when inside any public place or business, as well as outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible. 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 and other measures like contactless ordering from your phone, which 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 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

Bob McClenahan Photography
Photo Courtesy of Bob McClenahan Photography

Tastings by Appointment

While some Napa Valley wineries have used an appointment-only model for years, you can now 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? You may want to hold off for now. Wineries will be restricting group sizes, so check with each winery on group limitations when booking.

Socially Distant Wine Tasting

Crowded tasting rooms with standing-room only bars are a thing of the past. Tastings now take place in personal tasting areas away from other groups.

What to Expect at Restaurants

Unsplash | Jay Wennington
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash | Jay Wennington

Indoor vs Outdoor Dining

Restaurants in Napa Valley are currently allowed to offer both indoor and outdoor service, as well as takeout and delivery. Indoor in-person dining is limited to 50% capacity.

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. And just be appreciative that you’re not cooking dinner at home yet again!

Limited Group Size

Existing guidelines suggest limiting group sizes. Check with each dining establishment in advance to confirm size restrictions.

What to Expect at Hotels

SENZA King Room, Photo 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.

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.