What to know before heading out to Virginia wineries during Phase 1

Virginia, with the exception of several Northern Virginia localities, enters Phase One of reopening Friday, and some wineries in the state are opening their businesses and tasting rooms.

Before you take a scenic drive out to wine country, here’s what you need to know.

First, check out the wineries’ websites or social media pages to find out if they are even open or what services they are offering.

Many Virginia wineries will begin to reopen outdoor spaces at 50% capacity. No indoor seating will be available in Phase One.

Some other restrictions in place include:

  • There will be a limit of 10 people or fewer, and physical distancing must be maintained between all individuals, which applies to tables and seating, as well.
  • All areas where people may gather are closed except for thru-traffic.
  • Employees must wear face coverings, and customers are encouraged to wear them, as well.
  • If a winery is serving food, the menu must be single-use, and there will be no self-service food area.
  • Winery employees will check their temperatures before each shift.
  • Frequently-touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly. Tabletops and credit card/bill folders will be disinfected between patrons.

In addition, travel writer Nancy Bauer, who is behind the blog Virginia Wine in My Pocket, wrote that some wineries may require a paid reservation and some are limiting how long you can stay.

As counties in Northern Virginia are delaying their openings, wineries in those areas (Fairfax County, Prince William, Loudoun counties) will be closed until the local leaders are ready to lift the restrictions. And with stay-at-home orders still in place in these Northern Virginia counties, driving to a winery is most likely not considered an essential trip.

You can find a list of wineries that are opening on the Virginia Wine website.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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