Virginia has tons of fascinating cities, unique small towns, and enchanting regions to visit, but with COVID-19, the idea of an impromptu weekend road trip exploring these fun destinations had to be put on hold. But when the time is right, we can’t wait to welcome you back and explore all that Virginia has to offer! Consider these seven safety-focused goals that have taken extra precautions to ensure that you, your family, and your local communities stay healthy during this difficult time. Use this guide to help plan your dream Virginia vacation. When you’re ready, we’ll wait.
Photo credit: Kristian Summerer for visiting Alexandria
Visit Alexandria, the city’s tourism agency, and the Alexandria Health Department have teamed up for ALX Promise, a certification designation that lets residents and visitors know which restaurants, hotels and retailers have gone out of their way to keep their customers safe. The ALX promise means that these companies have committed themselves to higher safety standards for employees and customers than required by law. This voluntary program includes a wide range of components, including personalized training of staff at the Alexandria Health Department and continued work with the Health Department to ensure that safety measures are up to date. Look for the ALX Promise Shield on the websites and in the storefronts of restaurants, hotels and retailers in Alexandria.
More Alexandria Travel Resources:
- Visit the Alexandria website
- Your guide to restaurants in Alexandria and Arlington
- The perfect road trip through Northern Virginia
- Outdoor family adventure in Northern Virginia
- WanderLove: A Northern Virginia road trip from DC to Culpeper
Virginia’s Blue Ridge
Photo credit: Maggie Rotanz
In accordance with recommended guidelines from the CDC and health authorities, the Blue Ridge area of Virginia created the Blue Ridge Stay Safe Promise in Virginia so that residents and visitors can safely enjoy the businesses and experiences that make this beautiful area a unique destination. These safe steps include increased cleaning and disinfection to reflect CDC recommendations, adhering to capacity and social distancing guidelines, performing regular employee health screenings, and providing hand sanitizer to customers. As a token of your commitment to ensuring safe and enjoyable visitor experiences, look for special VBR Stay Safe Pledge posters in company storefronts in the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and Botetourt, Franklin and Roanoke counties.
More travel resources for Virginia’s Blue Ridge:
- Read more about Virginia’s Blue Ridge COVID-19 Response
- Visit the Virginia Blue Ridge Tourism website
- Your guide to restaurants in Roanoke
- A three day vacation guide to Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge
- WanderLove: A road trip to Southwest Virginia from Roanoke to Abingdon
Winchester, Frederick County, and Clarke County
Photo credit: Chris Cruz
To unite the business owners in Winchester, Frederick County and Clarke Counties and create solidarity, local government organizations have come together to create the OpenAndSafeNSV campaign. This campaign calls on companies to commit to following the safety guidelines set by the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC and keeping their employees, visitors and their communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pledge includes efforts such as following all guidelines from public health officials and the government, improving employee safety such as sanitation and social distancing, requiring face covers for all employees and visitors in accordance with guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health, and reducing shared occupancy Spaces. Check their website to see which companies in the Winchester, Frederick County, and Clarke Counties have made this pledge and are following heightened security measures.
Other Winchester / Frederick & Clarke County Travel Resources:
- Visit the Winchester Tourism website
- A road trip to Northern Virginia from DC to Culpeper
- Winchester to Staunton: 10 Must-See Attractions I-81
Prince William & Manassas
The # PrinceWilliamStrong Pledge calls on companies to pledge their support in complying with all Forward Virginia guidelines and requirements and following the safety measures of the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control to help spread the disease of COVID-19 to slow down. These measures include improved disinfection and cleaning procedures, screening employees for potential illnesses, and introducing flexible sick leave policies for employees who may be at risk. Over 100 companies in the Prince William / Manassas area have already committed to keep their visitors and employees safe.
More travel resources for Prince William / Manassas:
- Visit the Prince William County Tourism website
- Dog-friendly spots in Prince William
- Two days of historic walking and outdoor adventures in Prince William
- Outdoor family adventure in Northern Virginia
Photo credit: Nicole Nussbaum
The City of Norfolk and Downtown Norfolk Council have teamed up to create a program called OpenNorfolk, a free community support program that helps local businesses take security measures in accordance with VA governor’s Phase 1-3 guidelines. Not only did OpenNorfolk provide detailed toolkits for local businesses to ensure uniform security measures were in place, they also worked on creating outdoor dining areas for local restaurants, neighborhood pop-ups with safe outdoor meeting rooms, new pedestrian walkways to encourage activity Set up outdoor take-out / pick-up areas outside of restaurants and retailers to support local businesses. The initiative also helped organize socially distant events like outdoor yoga classes and art classes so people can safely connect during the pandemic.
Other travel resources for Norfolk:
- Visit the Norfolk Tourism website
- WanderLove: A road trip from Williamsburg to Norfolk
- WanderLove: A road trip from Norfolk to Virginia’s east coast
- Best outdoor activities in Norfolk
- A romantic getaway to Norfolk
- Dog friendly Norfolk
The Loudoun Is Ready program brings together business owners in Loudoun County, Northern Virginia, and builds consumer confidence in restaurants, shops, wineries, breweries, and other businesses that call Loudoun home. Over 550 companies are committed to the latest safety guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The participating companies have window stickers and socially distant decals to demonstrate their participation in the campaign.
More travel resources for Loudoun:
- Visit the Loudoun County Tourism website
- Loudoun, DC’s wine country
- Your three day vacation guide to Loudoun County
Lexington & Rockbridge County
Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County have worked together to create a safe pledge of hospitality for the area known as PACT that protects all citizens and travelers. The participating companies undertake to “commit to providing our visitors and citizens with a consistent, reliable and sustainable level of safety and service” by following industry-specific disinfection standards and protocols. The promise has been taken on by nearly 50 restaurants, hotels, retailers and attractions in the area, with more on the way. A map of all participants can be found on the PACT website. Each listing provides detailed information about the steps the company is taking to protect not only the public but employees as well.
More Lexington & Rockbridge Counties Travel Resources:
- Visit the Lexington Tourism website
- Explore the Rockbridge County Tourism website
- WanderLove: A Road Trip Through Lexington & Rockbridge Counties
- WanderLove: A family road trip through the Virginia Mountains
- Your Guide to Shenandoah Valley Restaurants
- The Top 5 Scenic Drives in the Shenandoah Valley (and where to stop along the way)
The Virginia Destinations Top 2021 For Visitor Safety Post first appeared on Virginia’s travel blog.