Hotels, Restaurants, Outfitters, Retail and More Open with Heightened Health & Safety Protocols
Vail Valley, Colorado – June 1, 2020 – Last week, the Vail Valley, located in Eagle County, began reopening with guidelines from public health experts that allow for lodging, recreation, restaurants and bars to begin serving the public with appropriate social distancing and safety protocols. While guests can enjoy the same rugged beauty and fresh air the destination is known for, they can also sample a number of new ways to recreate, dine and explore the area’s wide open spaces. Located two hours west of Denver, the Vail Valley is home to charming mountain destinations including Vail, Minturn, Red Cliff, Avon, Beaver Creek, Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum.
“We’ve worked closely with businesses to make sure our visitors have the exceptional guest experience they’ve come to expect in the Vail Valley, while developing protocols and guidelines that keep health and safety top-of-mind this summer,” said Chris Romer, president and chief executive officer of the Vail Valley Partnership. “Our community has worked very closely with local government and health professionals to achieve a positive recovery rate. We are excited to welcome visitors back to the Vail Valley this summer.”
Several of the Vail Valley’s more than 70 hotels and condominium properties are taking reservations for stays beginning this week with more set to open throughout the month of June. Lodging properties will operate at a maximum of 50 percent of occupancy and follow heightened health and safety guidelines. Pool and hot tub facilities also are open with occupancy limits, and fitness centers and gyms will operate at limited capacity. Saunas, spas and steam rooms remain closed for the time being.
Restaurants and bars also started welcoming guests back for dine-in service this week with indoor seating limited to 50 percent capacity and tables spaced for appropriate social distancing. Heightened health and safety protocols for restaurants include required facemasks for servers, table service at all bars and a ban on counter seating. Valley restaurants also continue to offer delivery and curbside pickup options for dining at home.
With the reopening, visitors can also enjoy even more opportunities to drink and dine al fresco throughout the valley this summer. Many communities throughout the Vail Valley received special variances to allow for more outdoor dining and enjoyment of alcohol in public spaces. For example, in Vail, several restaurants have added tables throughout the pedestrian village to allow for more open air seating and visitors will be able to enjoy alcoholic beverages in designated outdoor locations. Beaver Creek also has expanded outdoor dining throughout the resort. The Town on Avon has relaxed its regulations allowing for guests to consumer their own beer, wine and cocktails in the open air of Nottingham Park and on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall between 11:30 a.m. and 30 minutes after dusk. The Town of Eagle has allowed for the consumption of alcohol in their town parks and public spaces and has initiated a town-wide program entitled “Be our Guest,” allowing restaurants and bars the ability to apply for expanded use and service on the Town sidewalks, streets, and parking lots. The Town of Minturn has also issued a variance allowing restaurants and bars to expand their outdoor dining footprints.
Nested in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in the White River National Forest, the Vail Valley is a natural playground for outdoor pursuits. Hundreds of miles of river and recreational trails wind from one end of the valley to the other, allowing guests to get away from it all and explore. Eagle County’s expansive trail system offers nearly 300 miles of hiking trails that range from paved walking paths to backcountry trails that lead to mountain peaks, waterfalls, hidden lakes and more. For those who opt to explore on two wheels there are more than 340 miles of mountain biking trails and nearly 300 miles of road biking options in the area.
Area outfitters will operate this summer to help guests experience hiking, biking, rafting, ATV, Jeep and fly fishing adventures. Many of these options include natural social distancing and operators have enacted additional protocols to enhance safety. Many are offering more private tours and limiting the number of participants for activities. Guests are encouraged to contact individual outfitters to understand specific protocols for various guided outdoor pursuits.
Water sports abound in the area with more than 80 miles of river and whitewater ranging from Class I to Class V rapids that keep rafters and kayakers thrilled from start to finish. Standup paddleboards and kayaks can be enjoyed on multiple lakes and various stretches of river. Anglers can enjoy some of the best fishing in Colorado from the Eagle River and Gore Creek to lesser known backcountry locations.
The Vail Valley also offers motorized ways to experience the region with various options for ATV and Jeep 4×4 tours that provide guests with access to the beauty of the backcountry while learning about the history of the region. The area’s heritage also is found through the many guest ranch experiences open to guests this summer for horseback riding, archery, campfire cookouts, ziplining and even glamping.
The region offers some of the best golf in Colorado with more than a dozen courses. Visitors have a variety of courses to choose from including public options such as Vail Golf Club, EagleVail Golf Club, Eagle Ranch Golf Club and Gypsum Creek Golf Course. Resort courses are only accessible by staying at select lodging facilities but include Beaver Creek Golf Club, Sonnenalp Club and both the Norman and Fazio Courses at Red Sky Golf Club. Private memberships also are available a select courses in the valley. Guidelines this summer include single rider carts unless of the same group or household. Amenities such as scorecards, pencils, towels and tees currently are not available in carts. Flagsticks should not be touched or removed from holes.
Drop-in spots for kids such as skateparks and playgrounds also have reopened with social distancing rules.
Shopping & Museums
Although known for its outdoor pursuits, the Vail Valley also offers some great shopping options in each community with popular walking areas such as Riverwalk in Edwards, downtown Eagle and resort destinations like Beaver Creek and Vail. From locally owned and operated boutiques to nationally-known chains, stores have reopened with social distancing requirements. Many stores are limiting the number of customers in each facility with several offering curbside pickup as well.
Museums and public facilities such as Walking Mountains in Avon and Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and the Colorado Snowsports Museum in Vail also are open with limited capacity. The Snowsports Museum will offer weekly walking tours highlighting the history of the area this summer and the Vail Arts in Public Places program will resume weekly art walks. Both tours will operate at a limited capacity with social distancing protocols.
Vail Resorts has expressed its intent to open Beaver Creek and Vail Mountain for chairlift and gondola rides and activities on the mountain this summer, however, a final decision and announcement are not expected until June.
County-wide health and safety guidelines allow for gatherings of up to 50 people during the current phase of Vail Valley’s reopening plan. This precludes the area from offering several of its signature special events which have either been cancelled or postponed to a later date. As the region moves into its next phase of reopening (targeting late June), gathering size will increase to 250 people, pending the factors listed in the Opening Information section below. Many of the cultural organizations and event organizers in the area are looking at creative ways to offer smaller, more intimate performances, gatherings, outdoor movies, etc. Confirmed plans for these programs have not been announced or finalized. Please check the Vail Daily’s events calendar for the most up-to-date information on events throughout the Vail Valley.
Ease of Access
The Vail Valley is easily accessible just 100 miles west of Denver and 140 east of Grand Junction along the Interstate 70 corridor. The Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) also provides an alternative to flying into Denver International Airport. The state-of-the-art facility recently was renovated to provide guests with more seating and dining options that provide visitors with space for social distancing. The Eagle County Regional Airport provides daily, non-stop service on United from Denver to EGE throughout the summer with non-stop service from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW) to EGE daily mid-June to August on American. Please check with each carrier for updated dates and flight times.
Eagle County and the Vail Valley hope to move to the next phase of reopening in late June, pending continued containment of COVID-19 in the region, continuation of health and safety protocols and approval by the State of Colorado. Businesses will continue to open throughout the coming weeks and the best resource for opening information, hours of operation, etc. is the Vail Daily’s new Open for Business section that was created as the most up-to-date resource for happening in the Vail Valley this summer. Visitors also are encouraged to contact individual businesses directly for more details on heightened health and safety protocols.
The public health order requires all visitors be free of any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 for 10 days prior to arrival in Eagle County. Visitors should be aware they may be liable for additional night’s stays if they become sick with COVID-19 while visiting and need to be isolated/quarantined.
Commitments of Containment
Sustainable social distancing protocols are critical to containing the spread of COVID-19. Locals and visitors are asked to abide by the area’s five commitments of containment.
- Maintain six feet of social distance.
- Wear a mask in public.
- Get tested immediately if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Wash hands often.
- Stay at home when sick.
For more information on Eagle County’s health and safety orders and updated resources, please visit www.ecemergency.org.
More visitor information can be found at VisitVailValley.com.