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 Three Guidelines

Phase Three - Virginia's Blue Ridge

The Commonwealth of Virginia, including Virginia’s Blue Ridge, is currently Phase Three of its Forward Virginia recovery plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Many businesses and places of interest in Virginia’s Blue Ridge have offered adjusted services and operating procedures through various stages of the plan in accordance with guidelines set forth by the CDC, public health officials, and Governor of Virginia.

More detailed information about the Forward Virginia Guidelines, including specific requirements and recommendations for all businesses, can be found on the official Commonwealth of Virginia website. There are additional resources related to COVID-19 on the Forward Virginia website >

New Measures as part of the Forward Virginia Plan - Effective April 1, 2021 

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:

  • Social Gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in social gatherings will increase to 100 people for outdoor settings and 50 people for indoor settings. This does not apply to religious services, employment, or educational settings.
  • Entertainment Venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 30% capacity, with no specific cap on the number of attendees. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 500 people.
  • Recreational Sporting Events: The number of spectators allowed at recreational sporting events will be 100 people per field or 30% capacity, whichever is less for indoor settings, and 1000 people per field or 30% capacity for outdoor settings, whichever is less.
  • In-person Graduation & Commencement Events: Events held outdoors must have a cap of 5,000 people or 30% of the venue capacity, whichever is less. For indoor events, the number of attendees should be limited to 500 people or 30% capacity, whichever is less. Attendees must wear masks and follow all social distancing and safety protocols.

See the full text of Executive Order 72 on the Governor of Virginia's website > 

Masks & Face Coverings

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 >


Virginia's Blue Ridge Stay Safe Pledge

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.

If you're a local business, we invite you to let us know you're participating in this Stay Safe initiative by completing a short form. Stay Safe Pledge Form >

Learn more about the VBR Stay Safe Pledge >

Virginia's Blue Ridge Stay Safe Pledge - Guidelines

The following is an overview of updates regarding specific travel-related business sectors in Virginia. You can also get more information about the response to COVID-19 in Virginia's Blue Ridge with our special COVID-19 Landing Page.

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. 

Virginia's Blue Ridge - COVID-19 Landing PageRestaurants & Beverages

Businesses: Restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, cideries, food trucks, wineries, tasting rooms
Phase III: Indoor, outdoor patio spaces, and bar areas can be opened for service, but all parties must be separated by at least 6 feet.  
Local Resources: Restaurants > | Craft Beverages > | Patio Options > | Takeout Maps >

Entertainment & Public Amusement

Businesses: Performing arts venues, concert venues, movie theaters, drive-in entertainment, sports venues, botanical gardens, zoos, fairs, carnivals, amusement parks, museums, aquariums, bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, trampoline parks, arts & craft facilities, escape rooms, public & private social clubs, other entertainment centers & places of public amusement
Phase III: Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 30% capacity with a cap of 500 people. Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 30% capacity with no specific cap on the number of attendees.
Local Resources: Attractions > | Museums > | Natural Sites & Zoos > | Arts & Culture >

Events & In-Person Social Gatherings

Phase III: Social gatherings should be limited to 100 individuals for outdoor settings and 50 people for indoor settings.
Local Resources: Calendar of Events >

Hotels & Lodging

Phase III: Hotels & lodging facilities are classified as essential businesses and have remained open, provided they are in compliance with all guidelines and requirements for physical distancing, cleaning & disinfection, and workplace safety practices.
Local Resources: Hotels & Lodging > | B&Bs > | Cabins >


Businesses: Private campgrounds
Phase III: Private campgrounds may open to the public. 
Local Resources: Camping & Campgrounds >


Businesses: All non-essential brick-and-mortar retail establishments
Phase III: Retail businesses may open but retailers must assist customers in keeping at least 6 feet of space between individuals or households while shopping and waiting in line.
Local Resources: Shopping > | Online Shopping Options in VBR >

Farmers Markets

Phase III: 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: Farmers Markets >

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 III: Businesses may open but services should be provided through staggered appointments and there must be at least 6 feet of separation between work stations.
Local Resource: Spas & Salons >

Recreational Sports

Businesses: Indoor & outdoor recreational sports activities
Phase III: For sports played indoors, spectators must be limited to 100 persons per field or 30% capacity. For sports played outdoors, spectators must be limited to 500 persons per field or 30% capacity. 
Local Resources: Sports > | Golf > | Disc Golf >

Fitness & Exercise Facilities

Businesses: Gyms, recreation centers, sports facilities, exercise facilities
Phase III: Businesses may open but occupancy must be limited to no more than 75% of capacity, while maintaining a minimum of 10 feet of physical distancing between individuals as much as possible. Outdoor activities and classes are permitted, where proper social distancing can be practiced. Facilities should screen patrons for COVID-19 symptoms prior to admission to the facility.
Local Resources: Gyms & Fitness >

Swimming Pools

Businesses: Indoor & outdoor swimming pools
Phase III: Indoor & outdoor swimming pools may be open at up to 75% occupancy, while maintaining 10 feet of physical distance between patrons not of the same household. Hot tubs, spas, saunas, splash pads, spray pools, and play features must remain closed. 
Local Resources: Water Adventures > | Scenic Blueways >

To learn more about Phase Three, visit the Forward Virginia Guidelines website >

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 Phase Three, 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

Effective June 13, 2020, the National Park Service has reopened the Appalachian Trail in Virginia's Blue Ridge, including the popular Triple Crown portion of Dragon's Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs. Visitors are advised to observe all CDC health and social distancing guidelines, as well as adhere to Leave No Trace principles, including packing out all trash. National Park Service news release >

A.T.C. Guidelines for Day & Overnight Hikers >

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway Detour - Roanoke, VirginiaThe Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia’s Blue Ridge is open to the public. Beginning June 13, 2020, the National Park Service reopened access to certain picnic areas and restroom facilities on the Blue Ridge Parkway, including at the Peaks of Otter and Mabry Mill. Learn more >

NOTE: As a result of heavy rains and landslides, the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia's Blue Ridge is currently closed from Milepost 121.4 (U.S. 220) to Milepost 135.9 (Adney Gap). There is a complex road failure near Milepost 128 that will require extensive repairs. 

We've created a special Blue Ridge Parkway Detour Route for information about things to do in the area and recommended directions for accessing the Parkway around these closures. Parkway Detour Info >


Carvins Cove

Carvins Cove is open to the public for boating, fishing, and trails. The boat rental program is currently suspended. There are options to purchase daily use and annual entrance passes for Carvins Cove, which you are encouraged to purchase in advance through the Western Virginia Water Authority Website >

Explore Park

Explore Park in Roanoke County is open to the public. The park is accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway via the Route 24 access point at Milepost 112 or via the service entrance at 3900 Rutrough Road SE, Roanoke, VA 24101.

Don's Cab-Inns Campground and Blue Mountain Adventures offer multiple overnight lodging options for camping and campgrounds. Learn more on the Roanoke County website >

Treetop Quest aerial adventure course has resumed daily operations. Learn more >

Tubing, river gear rental and shuttle service on the Roanoke River through Blue Mountain Adventures are available for weekend reservations. Learn more >

The Visitor Center at Explore Park is open to the public on weekends during the winter.

The Twin Creeks Brewpub is open Friday evenings (5:30 to 9:00 p.m.), as well as Saturdays & Sundays, with a full service restaurant and craft beer, Virginia wines, and ciders. Learn more > 

George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

Many recreation sites in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests have reopened for day use. Campgrounds and facilities within recreation areas 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 >

Outdoor Outfitters

The following outdoor outfitters are offering various forms of services and rentals:

Roanoke Valley Greenways

Aside from certain areas closed due to flooding caused by recent rain, all greenways in the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, Salem, and Vinton are open.

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, are open to the public. Learn more on the Virginia State Parks 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 >


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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.