Last modified: June 1, 2021
The most asked question we’ve been asked this year is: “What can I expect my vacation to be like with the pandemic?”
For people living in states other than Virginia, it’s hard to imagine how this state is handling the COVID-19 restrictions and various protocols. So, we decided to write down how the majority of Virginia residents and businesses are affected by the current mandates.
Here’s what vacationing will be like for the 2021 season!
The main things that will be covered in this article are mask rules and social distancing.
When it comes to grocery shopping, mall shopping, and various forms of entertainment, masks are required in Virginia. You will see people here who are wearing layers of masks, just one, and very few who wear none. Trader Joe’s seems to be the grocery store that is most adamant about mask-wearing. They have people in the front of the store who check to see if you’re wearing a mask. They are also very strict on their limited capacity, which means you will probably have to wait in line before shopping. They even have signs that encourage double masking... But you're definitely not required to do that.
Indoor entertainment like bowling, movie theatres, and museums, masks are required for admission. All museums are requiring the use of masks. Activities like bowling and movie theatres are more in the gray area because food may be involved. If you’re visiting an eat-in theatre or bowling alley with dining options, of course you will be allowed to remove masks.
Amusement parks, golf courses, and nature parks have different requirements for masks. Amusement parks like Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country DO want you to wear a facial covering that follows CDC guidelines, and will not let you enter without one. They do have masks available for purchase.
Water country will be temperature checking all guests. Those who have above 100 degree temperature will be denied entry.
According to the Water Country website, this is what they say about their COVID-19 mask rules, “Guests are required to wear facial coverings in common and indoor spaces. The only exceptions are children age three and younger. Guests may remove their facial coverings to engage in water-related activities, to include swimming in pools, on water slides and water attractions, or while walking to/from these activities. Facial coverings must be removed while enjoying water-related activities in compliance with water safety best practices. Coverings may also be removed in order to eat.”
Busch Gardens is having a weird rule on masks, even requiring them on coasters. Here's what you can expect at Busch Gardens, “Busch Gardens Williamsburg will have mask-free relaxation zones — areas within the park where patrons can take a break with their face coverings off, he said. But these areas will have increased physical distancing requirements beyond 6 feet between guests. Only in those areas and only when the patron is physically distancing from others” can they remove their masks."
Golfing entertainment, like TopGolf, only require masks at entry and departure. Once in your bay, you will be allowed to take off your mask and fully enjoy your game.
No masks are required at nature parks, but do not be surprised when you see people walking trails with a mask on! But feel free to breathe 100% fresh air when you're in Virginia parks.
Most restaurants are straight forward in their policies. They are operating at limited capacity. Every other table is usually blocked off to encourage “social distancing”. Masks are only required for entry and exit. Masks can be taken off at the table. Though, some restaurants will want you to keep the mask on until food arrives, but that seems to be a rare requirement.
Some farmers markets are more lenient, while others still require masks, even though it’s outdoors.
NO MASKS! And with Virginia Beach being the largest pleasure beach in the world, you won’t need to try hard for social distancing. Spreading out will be easy here.
Masks are required in the lobby and moving between floors. Other than that, you can decide if you want to wear one in your room. The hotels are undergoing thoughtful cleaning now for COVID-19 protocols. Ask your hotel concierge for more information on their cleaning strategies. And don’t forget to check out our tips to stay germ-free on your vacation.
Rental cars now are noted to have gone through an in depth cleaning for high safety measures. You are not required to drive with a mask on in a rental car.
Our Top Tips for Vacationing
As you can see, the mask mandate is kind of vague. Some places are truly strict while others are more lenient.
For that, we suggest always having one "just in case".