COVID & planning your next visit to wine country

Image credit: 7 Vines Vineyard & Winery, Facebook

Updated Sunday June 7, 2020, 5:37 pm

The following information is based on requirements in the State of Minnesota. Because changes are occurring rapidly, as you plan your visit check Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan for updates, and also check with businesses for their policies.

Please be understanding of the numerous, and new, regulations and restrictions businesses are currently operating under. Exercise patience and show respect to staff as we all navigate life in a COVID-aware world.

Be kind to one another, and remember that we are all in this together.

 

If you have a safety concern
Please consider bringing safety concerns to management’s attention, and allow them to address or correct the issue before leaving negative online reviews.  In many cases online reviews leave a permanent blemish on a business’ reputation. Businesses have suffered a lot lately, allow the courtesy of letting them respond to complaints personally when reasonable.

 

Reservations are required – STATE regulation
Capacity is limited, and reservations are required. It is important to note that these are state regulations so be kind to staff about this minor inconvenience. If you want to pay a visit on short notice, give the business a call to check availability, as they may be able to accommodate you.

 

Parties are limited to 4 (6 if same household) – STATE regulation
Table service is limited to 4, or 6 if members of the same household. This is also a state regulation.  Be aware that all members of the group (including underage/children) count toward these numbers.

 

Reservation time limits may be enforced
Because reservations are available at a limited capacity, many businesses may need to enforce time limits. Please be understanding and respectful if the business is imposing a time limit. If you are expecting to visit for longer than one hour, call ahead to see if they are able to accommodate your party for a longer time, or take an order to-go and select an alternative location without a time restriction.

 

Face masks and dining
“Masks when mobile” is a good practice to keep in mind: I would encourage guests to wear a face mask when moving about the space as a courtesy to employees and other guests. Examples of when you should wear a mask include when arriving for your reservation, or walking to the restroom. Staff are required to wear a mask throughout service.  Some jurisdictions or businesses may have specific policies for use of face masks, so be aware of where you are going, and what rules they may have in place.

 

Outside seating only until June 10 – STATE regulation
Current state regulations allow outside consumption only until June 10. Stay aware of weather forecasts. Inquire with the business that you plan to visit whether or not their space is able to allow tastings during rainy weather conditions, particularly if heavy wind or rain are expected.

 

Limited indoor seating starting June 10 – STATE regulation
Businesses are limited to 50% capacity. Reservations are also required.

 

To-go sales
Retail wine sales are available at many open wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries.
Restaurants will continue to be able to offer to-go sales, of one bottle of wine or a 6-pack of cider or beer with a food purchase.

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