Updated Thursday, July 9
As Wine Country reopens during the Covid-19 era, you may be wondering if it’s safe to visit Napa Valley. While the decision to venture out is entirely up to you — everyone is responsible for his/her own safety — we can assure you that businesses throughout Napa Valley and Sonoma County are adhering to the latest health and safety protocols and the Wine Country community is doing everything possible to reduce the transmission of the virus.
If and when you do choose to spend a day or weekend in Napa Valley soon, you will be welcomed with open arms (figuratively, of course), but just know that your visit will look a bit differently. To help you navigate the new Napa experience, here are a few key guidelines and things to expect as wineries reopen (View Napa Valley Wineries Open), restaurants resume service (View Napa Valley Restaurants Open for Dine-in), and hotels are again available for booking (View Napa Valley Hotels Open).
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.
Face coverings are now required when inside any public place or business, as well as outside when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. This applies to restaurants and wineries, but once seated you’ll be able to remove your mask to sip or eat normally.
Whenever you’re in a public place, maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other people outside your party is required.
Less contact with servers and tasting room hosts will become the norm moving forward. 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 will also have contactless payment systems available for tastings, food purchases, and bottles to-go.
The Covid-19 environment is new to all of us, 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 — some of which change daily — and many of these establishments are reopening after having been closed for months.
While many Napa Valley wineries have used an appointment-only model for years, you will now have to make a reservation in advance before visiting. This is mandatory as it will help the wineries monitor customer flow to ensure they’re operating at a reduced capacity for safety reasons.
Time to book that long-awaited party bus with your friends? Not so fast. Many wineries are restricting group sizes to four to six people, so check with each winery when booking.
Crowded tasting rooms with standing-room only bars are a thing of the past. A visit to a Napa winery will now be all about social distancing. Tastings will take place in personal tasting areas at least six feet from other groups and starting Thursday, July 9, all tastings will be required to be held outdoors.
Many restaurants will request reservations in advance and others may require advanced booking, but that will vary between dining establishments. Restaurants are limited in their capacity for the foreseeable future, so plan accordingly to ensure you can get a spot at your favorite restaurant. 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 right now; if you do have to wait, it’s likely that the restaurant is simply following the proper protocols to ensure you can dine safely.
Starting July 9, restaurants will be limited to outdoor seating only through the remainder of July, and existing guidelines suggest limiting groups to small groups only.
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.
Many hotels have implemented new processes for checking in and out to minimize person-to-person interactions.
Hotels are implementing rigid sanitation procedures that include increased sanitizing 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.
Though you can still expect the same great hospitality from Napa hotels, note that some amenities and facilities may not be available at this time. Many hotels have also implemented systems for using hotel amenities to allow for social distancing, such as reserving pool lounge chairs or fitness equipment in advance, limited tee times, and moving all fitness classes outside.
We recognize that Covid-19 is a serious health concern that impacts all of us, and the decision to travel to Napa Valley is ultimately your choice — and one we support either way. That said, when you do choose to visit, we want you to feel prepared and confident so you can worry less about what to expect and instead focus on enjoying your time in Wine Country.