Virginia Destinations That Go Above & Beyond for Visitor Safety in 2021

Virginia has countless fascinating cities, unique small towns, and charming regions worth a visit, but with COVID-19, the idea of an impromptu weekend road trip to explore these fun-filled destinations has had to be put on hold. But when the time is right, we can’t wait to welcome you back to explore all that Virginia has to offer! When thinking about where to go once travel restrictions have been lessened, consider these seven safety-focused destinations, which have introduced extra precautions to ensure you, your family, and their local communities all stay healthy during this difficult time. Use this guide to help plan your dream Virginia getaway- and when you’re ready, we’ll be waiting.

Alexandria

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Photo Credit: Kristian Summerer for Visit Alexandria

Visit Alexandria, the city’s tourism agency, and Alexandria Health Department teamed up for ALX Promise, a certification designation that tells residents and visitors which restaurants, hotels, and retailers have gone above and beyond for the safety of their customers. The ALX Promise means that these businesses have committed to higher safety standards for both employees and customers than is required by law. This voluntary program includes a wide array of components, including personalized staff training with the Alexandria Health Department and continued work with the Health Department to ensure their safety measures are up to date. Look for the ALX Promise shield on the websites and in the storefront windows of Alexandria’s restaurants, hotels, and retailers. 

More Travel Resources for Alexandria:

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

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Photo Credit: Maggie Rotanz

Following recommended guidelines from the CDC and public health officials, Virginia’s Blue Ridge region has created the Virginia’s Blue Ridge Stay Safe Pledge to allow residents and visitors to safely enjoy the businesses and experiences that make this beautiful area such a unique destination. These safe steps include increased cleaning and disinfecting to mirror CDC recommendations, following capacity and social distancing guidelines, conducting regular health screenings of staff members, and providing hand sanitizer for customers. As a sign of commitment to fostering safe, enjoyable experiences for visitors, look for special VBR Stay Safe Pledge Posters in the shop windows of businesses in the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke. 

More Travel Resources for Virginia’s Blue Ridge:

Winchester, Frederick County, & Clarke County

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Photo Credit: Chris Cruz

In an effort to unite and create solidarity for the business owners in Winchester, Frederick County, and Clarke County, local government organizations banded together to create the OpenAndSafeNSV campaign. This campaign asks businesses to take the pledge to adhere to safety guidelines outlined by the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC and keep their staff, their visitors, and their communities as a whole safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pledge includes efforts such as adhering to all directives from public health and government officials, enhanced employee safety measures like sanitization efforts and social distancing, requiring face coverings for all employees and visitors according to the Virginia Department of Health guidelines, and reducing occupancy in common spaces. Check their website to see what businesses in the Winchester, Frederick County, and Clarke County areas have taken this pledge and are following increased safety measures. 

More Travel Resources for the Winchester/Frederick & Clarke County Region:

Prince William & Manassas

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Photo Credit: April Greer

The #PrinceWilliamStrong Pledge asks businesses to pledge their support in adhering to all “Forward Virginia” guidelines and requirements and following the safety measures issued by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control to slow the spread of COVID-19. These measures include enhanced disinfection and cleaning procedures, screening of employees for potential illness, and adopting flexible sick leave policies for employees that may be at risk. Over 100 businesses in the Prince William/Manassas area have already taken the pledge and committed to the safety of their visitors and employees. 

More Travel Resources for Prince William/Manassas:

Norfolk

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Photo Credit: Nicole Nussbaum

The City of Norfolk and Downtown Norfolk Council have teamed up to create a program called OpenNorfolk, a free community assistance program that helps local businesses open with safety measures in place under the VA Governor’s Phase 1-3 Guidelines. In addition to providing detailed tool kits for local businesses to ensure consistent safety measures are in place, OpenNorfolk worked to build outdoor dining spaces for local restaurants, neighborhood pop-ups with safe outdoor gathering spaces, new pedestrian walkways to encourage outdoor activity, and designated takeout/pick-up zones outside of restaurants and retailers to support local businesses. The initiative also helped organize socially-distanced events like outdoor yoga classes and art classes, allowing people to connect in a safe way during the pandemic. 

More Travel Resources for Norfolk:

Loudoun

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The “Loudoun Is Ready” program unites business owners in Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County and boosts consumer confidence in restaurants, shops, wineries, breweries, and other businesses that call Loudoun home. Over 550 businesses have already taken the pledge to meet the latest safety guidelines outlined by the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Participating businesses have window stickers and social-distancing floor decals to show their involvement in the campaign.

More Travel Resources for Loudoun:

Lexington & Rockbridge County

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Photo Credit: Patty Williams

Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County have worked together to create a safe hospitality pledge for the region known as P.A.C.T., Protecting All Citizens and Travelers. Participating businesses pledge to “commit to delivering a consistent, dependable, and sustained level of safety and service to our visitors as well as our citizens” by following industry-specific sanitizing standards and protocols. The pledge has been taken by nearly 50 restaurants, hotels, retailers, and attractions in the area, with even more in the works. Check out the P.A.C.T. website to see a map of all participants; each listing includes detailed information about the steps the business is taking to protect not only the public but their employees, as well.

More Travel Resources for Lexington & Rockbridge County:

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