As the pandemic drags on, a worst-case scenario for hospitality businesses has unfolded in Sonoma County. With the onset of winter, temperatures are cooling and the rainy season is officially here. The change in weather signals the welcomed end to fire season, but it also brings the unwelcome closure of many small businesses that can no longer serve customers indoors or outdoors due to state and county mandates set to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
As of mid-December, Sonoma County joined the six other Bay Area counties in a regional stay-at-home order. (The San Francisco Chronicle also recently published an in-depth article explaining why agricultural-centric counties have a higher COVID-19 case numbers.) This means that all restaurants, wineries and food-serving bars, which draw tourists and day-trippers to Sonoma County wine country year-round, can no longer offer outdoor or indoor dining. Most of us want to be outdoors in summer and fall, thanks to crisp air and sunny days, so pivoting to all outdoor wine tastings was a natural and easy shift for us at Jordan last year. But with cold winter weather and our latest stay-at-home county mandate, we can no longer serve outdoor or indoor tastings at the winery in Healdsburg.
All Tours & Tastings and Jordan Estate Rewards member private experiences have been closed since Monday, November 9, and will remain closed until further notice. We are using this time of decreased visitation to focus our energy on hosting complimentary Virtual Tastings for all guests this winter and to undertake a six-month renovation of all three guest suites, Library and Cellar Rooms. We expect to begin accepting new reservations for overnight stays after April 1, 2021.
While we don’t have a crystal ball, we remain optimistic and hope that COVID-19 restrictions will be loosened in a few months, and indoor dining and wine tasting will be allowed again in Sonoma County. When that happens, we will reopen and be ready to share our newly remodeled Library and Cellar Room to guests, following safety and social distancing guidelines. We will begin accepting reservations for winter and spring tasting experiences once the county health officer announces changes in business operating restrictions. You can also email us to inquire about private virtual tastings, which are now available for booking.
Let’s hope that Sonoma County catches a break and can safely reopen indoor and outdoor hospitality businesses soon. Our community needs it after three years of fires and a flood that significantly disrupted business throughout the region. We’re looking forward to bluer skies ahead.