Virginia's Blue Ridge is Open for Business!

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 >


COVID-19: Forward Virginia - Phase One Guidelines

Safer at Home: Phase I

The Governor of Virginia has announced Forward Virginia Guidelines as the Commonwealth continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Virginia moves into Safer at Home: Phase I of the guidelines on Friday, May 15, many businesses and places of interest in Virginia’s Blue Ridge will be adjusting service in accordance with the guidelines.

NOTE - Virginia is Now in Phase Three

UPDATE - Effective July 1, 2020, Virginia has now moved to Phase Three. Learn more about this new phase of the Forward Virginia plan with our page on Phase Three Guidelines >

More detailed information can be found on Forward Virginia Guidelines on the official Commonwealth of Virginia website, including general guidelines and best practices for all types of businesses, as well as additional resources related to COVID-19. Forward Virginia Website >

Masks & Face Coverings

Effective May 29, 2020 and pursuant to Governor Northam's Executive Order 63, all patrons aged 10 and over shall wear face coverings over their mouth and nose when entering, exiting, traveling through, or spending time inside buildings.

Individuals who have trouble breathing or have medical conditions that prohibit wearing a mask or face covering will not be required to do so. These individuals will not be required to prove or explain medical conditions.

Additional Details: Executive Order 63 from the Office of the Governor >

The Commonwealth of Virginia has also produced this helpful graphic to explain the transition to Safer at Home: Phase I.

Virginia - Phase One Guidelines

The following is an overview of updates regarding specific travel-related business sectors in Virginia.

Restaurants & Beverages

Businesses: Restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, cideries, food trucks, wineries, tasting rooms
Phase I: Businesses can continue to offer takeout & delivery options. Dining rooms must remain closed, but restaurants can offer dine-in service on outdoor patios at 50% capacity.
Local Resources: Locations Offering Outdoor Patio Service >VBR Takeout Maps >

NOTE: Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge is currently compiling a list of establishments that will be offering outdoor patio service and will publish the info when we have more details. If you operate a business that will be offering this service, please e-mail us at to ensure your inclusion on the list.

Farmers Markets

Phase I: Farmers markets should continue to offer pre-scheduled ordering and pickup options. On-site shopping is allowed as long as physical distancing guidelines are adhered to and there should be a minimum of 6 feet between parties at tables.
Local Resources: Support Local Farmers Markets in VBR >


Businesses: All non-essential brick-and-mortar retail establishments
Phase I: Retail businesses may reopen but must limit occupancy to 50% capacity and assist customers in keeping at least 6 feet of space between individuals.
Local Resources: Shopping in VBR > | Online Shopping Options in VBR >

Recreation & Entertainment Businesses

Businesses: Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, fairs, arts & craft facilities, indoor entertainment centers, indoor public amusement facilities
Phase I: Businesses are to remain closed to the public.
Local Resources: VBR Virtual Activities & Things to Do > | Virtual Entertainment Options in VBR >  

Fitness & Exercise Facilities

Businesses: Gyms, recreation centers, swimming pools, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities
Phase I: Businesses are to remain closed, except for outdoor fitness classes and activities where social distancing can be practiced.
Local Resources: Socially Distanced Outdoor “Events” in VBR >

Personal Care & Grooming Services

Businesses: Salons, barbershops, spas, massage centers, tanning salons, tattoo shops, other locations where personal care or grooming services are performed
Phase I: Businesses may reopen but capacity must be limited to no more than 50% occupancy and services must be provided by appointment only with at least 6 feet of separation between stations.
Local Resource: Spas & Salons in VBR >


Businesses: Private campgrounds
Phase I: Private campgrounds may reopen but all lots rented for short term stays must provide a minimum of at least 20 feet between units. All common areas must remain closed and there will be no day passes or unregistered visitors allowed on property.
Local Resources: Camping & Campgrounds in VBR >

Events & In-Person Gatherings

Phase I: All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals remain prohibited. A "gathering" is included, but not limited to, parties, celebrations, or social events, whether they occur indoors or outdoors.
Local Resources: Calendar of Virtual Events in VBR >

To learn more about Safer at Home: Phase I, visit the Forward Virginia Guidelines website >

NOTE: We recommended reaching out to businesses directly for the most up-to-date information regarding current services.

All individuals are urged to continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines and use face coverings when in public. If you feel sick or are showing any symptoms of being sick, stay home.  

Local Outdoor Recreation Updates

In addition to the guidelines provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the transition to Safer at Home: Phase I, there are adjustments being made to trails, parks, and outdoor recreation areas in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, based on decisions being made by land managers.

The following is a list of updates related to outdoor places of interest and recreation activities in Virginia’s Blue Ridge:

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail from Route 624 (Newport Road) to Route 652 (Mountain Pass Road) remains closed. This includes the Virginia Triple Crown hikes of Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs, as well as Hay Rock. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is continuing to ask hikers to stay off the trail at this time. Learn more on the Appalachian Trail Facebook Page >

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia’s Blue Ridge remains open to the public. All seasonal visitor service facilities remain closed, including campgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms and visitor centers. Learn more on the National Park Service website >

NOTE: As a result of recent heavy rains, the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia's Blue Ridge is currently closed from Milepost 112.4 to Milepost 135.9. There are multiple road hazards and the schedule for repairs is currently unknown. Learn more in the National Park Service News Release >

Carvins Cove

Carvins Cove remains open to the public for boating, fishing, and trails. The boat rental program is currently suspended and access fees to the park are being waived. Restrooms are currently closed. Learn more on the Western Virginia Water Authority website >

Explore Park

The outdoor amenities and trails at Explore Park in Roanoke County remain open to the public. Twin Creeks Brewpub is currently closed. Don's Cab-Inns Campground and Blue Mountain Adventures primitive camping opened to the public on Friday, May 15 - bookings must be made in advance. Learn more on the Roanoke County website >

Treetop Quest aerial adventure course will resume daily operation on Saturday, May 23. Learn more >

Tubing, river gear rental and shuttle service on the Roanoke River through Blue Mountain Adventures will begin on Friday, May 22. Learn more >

The Visitor Center at Explore Park will reopen on Saturday, May 23. 

George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

Many recreation sites in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests will reopen for day use beginning the weekend of May 23. Campgrounds and facilities within recreation areas will remain closed and trash service will not be available, so all visitors are asked to pack out everything they bring in. Learn more on the U.S. Forest Service website >

Roanoke Valley Greenways

All greenways in Roanoke County, Salem, and Vinton are open. The City of Roanoke will reopen the Garden City, Lick Run, Mill Mountain, and Tinker Creek Greenways on Friday, May 15, and the Roanoke River Greenway on Tuesday, May 19, though parking areas will remain closed. Learn more about the reopening of the City of Roanoke Paved Greenways >

Additional Information: Roanoke Valley Greenways website >

Virginia State Parks

Virginia State Parks, including Smith Mountain Lake State Park, Fairy Stone State Park, Claytor Lake State Park, Natural Bridge State Park, and Douthat State Park, remain open for day-use activities. Parks will open for overnight stays on May 22. Learn more on the Virginia State Parks website >

Zagster Bike Share Rentals

Unfortunately, the Zagster Bike Share program has been discontinued. Learn more on the RIDE Solutions website >

For additional information and resources related to the outdoors, Roanoke Outside has put together a list of COVID-19 Outdoor Updates that is being regularly updated with details about outdoor businesses and access to parks & trails. Outdoor Updates >

As we wait for the right time to travel again, let's get inspired and dream about the good times ahead. Virginia's Blue Ridge is Worth the Wait.

A collection of the most iconic experiences, must-see spots, and things to do when you visit Virginia's Blue Ridge.

We have a variety of helpful tools, resources, and information to help you plan your next visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains.