COVID-19 Update 08/04/20

COVID-19 Update 08/04/20

COVID-19 Update 08/04/20

We are currently not operating our wine tours. While we are anxious to be open and sharing our beautiful wine country with all of you, we have to be patient and wait.

What’s Happening in California and Sonoma County?

Here in California, local, county and state officials continually monitor COVID-19 data. Some of that monitored data includes the number of positive cases, deaths, the positivity rate and the hospital and ICU rates. Data indicator thresholds are then set to help contain the spread. Indicators below a certain threshold, allow for some further reopening. While indicators above the threshold, triggers a watch list. If a county remains on a watch list for 3+ consecutive days, the state requires the county to reinstate some sectoral closures.

Sonoma County has been on the monitoring list for about 3 weeks now and counting… However, during this time, there has been some updated reopening guidelines for passenger carriers. And more coming in the next few weeks.

What are passenger carriers? They are companies engaged in “passenger transport for hire,” which includes taxis, ride sharing companies, limos, shuttles, tour companies, etc. Per the CA guidelines for reopening passenger carriers, “pooled rides” (different travelers sharing one vehicle) “should be suspended until further public health guidance is provided for restarting such rides”. This means that only people from the same group may travel together. That means we cannot reopen our shared group tours just yet.

What new guidance is coming? In addition to the state guidelines already put out, the CDD and CA Dept of Public Health will be putting out further guidelines pertaining to the previously mentioned “pooled trips.” Also in the works, the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) is meeting this week to discuss and implement requirements for those licensed through them. Taxis are ride sharing companies are not licensed through the PUC, however limos, shuttles, tour companies, etc. are. Therefore, we will make another update to our website once we receive those upcoming guidelines.

In the meantime, if you are making plans to visit, check Sonoma County or Sonoma County Tourism just before coming to see the latest county info for what is open.

What’s Happening with Wine Country Journeys?

As previously discussed, we are awaiting the updated CADPH and new PUC requirements before making any further decisions on when and how we can reopen.

At this time, Wine Country Journeys is not operating our wine tours. This was a difficult decision, one that was made after many discussions and running various scenarios.

The two biggest factors in the spread of COVID-19 are distance and duration. The closer people are to one another, coupled with the length of time they spend together, increases their risk significantly.

Recommended modifications include additional sanitation requirements, partition/barrier between the driver and guests, separation of guests’, masks, limited time inside the enclosed vehicle, and windows fully open with outside ventilation.

Our tours have always been small intimate groups, and as such, our vehicles are simply not large enough to create the proper physical distancing/partitioning. In addition to that, our travel times (inside the enclosed vehicles) can be up to 1.5 hours at a time. Between the modifications and risk, we simply cannot reopen yet. As things progress and change, we will continue to evaluate our timing of reopening. As always, we will keep our website up to date with our latest news.

Wine Country Journeys will be back!!!

Our top priority remains the health and safety of our workers, guests and the greater community. We hope everyone is doing the responsible thing and helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 to save lives and shorten the time it will take for us all to reopen. We’re doing our part here and looking forward to seeing you in the future! Until then, wear your face masks and stay physically distanced.

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