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

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  • on OCTOBER 8, 2020
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Courtesy of Bob McClenahan Photography
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Updated Tues, Nov 17, 2020

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.

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 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).

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 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.

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 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.

Be Patient & Stay Flexible

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.

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, you will now have to make a reservation in advance before visiting. This will help 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. Many wineries are 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 and as of November 17, tastings will only be allowed OUTDOORS.

What to Expect at Restaurants

Courtesy of Jay Wennington | Unsplash

Dine-In and Outdoor Seating

Restaurants in Napa Valley are allowed to operate for OUTDOOR dining only. Takeaway is still permitted.

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 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.

Limited Group Size

Existing guidelines suggest limiting groups to small groups only, with those in one household.

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.

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 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.

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, fitness centers are allowed to offer outdoor service only.

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.

Napa Valley Restaurants Reopen For Dine-In Service

Napa Valley Businesses: Who is Open and Closed


WineCountry Staff


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