Governor Northam has lifted mask mandates for fully-vaccinated individuals, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Effective May 28, Virginia eased all distancing and capacity restrictions. Learn More >
This page features information and updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact in Virginia's Blue Ridge. We also have resources with information on unique ways you can experience the region and how to support our local businesses.
With the number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine continuing to increase in Virginia, the Governor of Virginia announced an amended Executive Order Number Seventy-Two in a series of actions that will gradually ease public health restrictions and increase capacity limits for indoor & outdoor gatherings & some entertainment venues, while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The measures include the following:
Effective May 14, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and lifted Virginia's universal indoor mask mandate to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC guidelines state that fully-vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in healthcare facilities, and in congregate settings.
Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance.
Those who are unvaccinated or not fully-vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine
Full Text: Amended Executive Order 72 >
We encourage all businesses and individuals to commit to the Virginia's Blue Ridge Stay Safe Pledge as a way to work together to ensure the health and safety of our community. The pledge follows recommended guidelines from the CDC and public health experts on the best ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 and help Virginia's Blue Ridge stay safe as a region for local residents, businesses, and visitors. Learn more about the VBR Stay Safe Pledge >
If you're a local business, we encourage you to complete our form to let us know you're taking the pledge! Pledge form >
NOTE: Businesses are doing their best to adapt to new policies, health requirements, and best practices in response to COVID-19. We recommend checking directly with specific businesses for the most current information on their services and guidelines, and encourage patience as we all work to get through this together.
As part of the Phase Three Guidelines, food & beverage businesses are also allowed to offer indoor, outdoor, and bar seating dine-in service, providing strict social distancing measures are followed. We've created a list of locations featuring outdoor patio service >
You can also see our complete list of restaurants in Virginia's Blue Ridge >
Pictured above: Rocky Mount Burger Company - Franklin County
We've also created a series of maps that feature which local restaurants are currently offering takeout, pickup, & delivery service:
NOTE: Visit VBR will continue to update this list. If a restaurant isn't listed, do not assume that it is not offering services. Please visit the websites and social media pages of specific restaurants & locations for the most up-to-date information on services and availability.
As part of the Phase Three Guidelines, craft beverage businesses are also allowed to offer indoor & outdoor service, as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. The following pages feature more information about craft beverage establishments in the region:
In accordance with Phase Three Guidelines, brick-and-mortar retail businesses are allowed to open to the public and customers should keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from each other. The following pages feature more information on shopping in the region:
There are also lots of local stores and shops that offer online options, as well as gift cards that can help you be ready for your next shopping spree. Check out our list of Online Shopping Options in Virginia's Blue Ridge >
As part of the Phase Three Guidelines, many forms of entertainment and public amusement are allowed to reopen to the public, provided they follow safety requirements and guidelines and limit capacity to 30% or 500 patrons, whichever is less. Learn more about the following types of things to do in the region:
The local museums and attractions have also come up with creative ways to keep us educated and entertained virtually! Consider showing your appreciation by purchasing passes for a future date or becoming an annual member. Many of our partners are providing fun digital activities, virtual tours and resources that you can enjoy from home with your family, such as the following:
The hotels and lodging options in Virginia's Blue Ridge are here to provide a clean, refreshing space that can be part of a relaxing getaway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Whether it's a downtown hotel near great restaurants and museums, a charming B&B in a historic neighborhood, or secluded cabins and campgrounds, you'll find all kinds of great lodging in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
Our local arts & culture organizations, music venues, and event organizations are coming up with creative ways to host performances, live music and special events in the region while adhering to health & safety protocols and capacity limits. Indoor venues must operate at 30% capacity or with a maximum of 500 people, whichever is less. Outdoor venues must operate at 30% capacity with no specific cap on the number of attendees.
Pictured: Outdoor Concert hosted by the Harvester Performance Center in Franklin County
We'd like to offer some other ways you can enjoy Virginia's Blue Ridge through popular TV shows, movies, music and books with local connections to the region. Here are some recommendations:
The following outdoor outfitters are offering various forms of services and rentals:
If you're getting out for a walk, run, or ride, we'd also encourage you to use free tools like STRAVA, MapMyWalk, MTB Project, and Trailforks so that you can track your route and share it with others!
Please note that many public restroom facilities in outdoor recreation areas are currently closed so plan accordingly. Visitors are also encouraged to pack out all of their own trash and help preserve the natural beauty of the region.
Here are some additional resources:
Find out how local markets are offering new ways for customers to continue to support our local farmers and vendors in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
Find out how you can continue to enjoy entertainment from Virginia's Blue Ridge with local options for live music, movies, TV shows, Spotify playlists, and more.
Who's ready for a game? Download our Support Local Bingo card and see if you can check off everything on the list! Take pictures of completing the various items on the card and share it with us on Facebook & Instagram - @visitvbr
For our local businesses and organizations that are partners with Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge, we've created a special page in our Partnership section with additional resources and organizations to connect you with that can provide assistance during this time.
As many events in Virginia's Blue Ridge have been postponed or canceled due to COVID-19, local organizations and event venues are hosting special virtual events that you can attend and enjoy in a digital format!
The following are helpful resources that other websites in the community have created, such as ideas for activities, ways to support local businesses, and updates related to cancellations and breaking news.
A great collection of content featuring resources and opportunities to enjoy digital experiences throughout the Commonwealth. These posts are from Virginia's Travel Blog, which is managed by the Virginia Tourism Corporation.