Travelling to the Okanagan During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We did our first road trip as a family of three up to Summerland to celebrate our anniversary last weekend. It was SO nice to get away after being stuck at home during the pandemic. I have had quite a few people ask what it was like and if wineries and restaurants were open so I figured I would throw together a post that can help if you're planning to travel to the Okanagan this summer. Here are some things to consider while visiting the Penticton and Kelowna areas during the pandemic.

1. Have a Plan
We noticed that quite a few places we like to stop at on our way to the Okanagan from Vancouver were closed so we had to improvise a bit. Map out a route and check out the websites or social accounts of businesses you want to visit to be sure places are open. Also, if you want to go to wineries and restaurants during your visit I suggest doing some research before just showing up.  Some wineries are also taking reservations for tastings so it's a good idea to double-check! 

2. Make Reservations
Most of the restaurants and wineries are open but limit the number of people inside. I also noticed that places are operating on limited hours to be sure that proper sanitation can be done. We went to Poplar Grove for our anniversary dinner and there were limited tables due to social distancing. Call ahead and make a reso for meals to be sure you can be seated or arrive early. Also, check out the restaurant's website or social accounts to see what COVID precautions they are taking so you can be a respectful guest. 

3. Wear a Mask and Wash Your Hands
This one should be obvious, but I noticed there were a lot of people not wearing masks when we would go out places. I was actually shocked when we went to the grocery store and I only saw 1-2 people wearing them and the place was really busy. Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean you should let up on protecting yourself and others. After a few wine tastings, we may forget to use that sanitizer and stay 6 feet apart.

4. Tip More Than Normal
People in the service industry put themselves at risk every day while at work. They interact with people on vacation that may have brought the virus with them. This should go without saying but tip your servers and customer service people more than you normally would during this time. Most of the servers in restaurants are wearing masks which makes it harder for them to provide a smile and make a connection with you. They're having to work harder and safer for you to have a good time!

5. Accommodations
We stayed with my family so I can't comment on how campgrounds, hotels, and Airbnb's are operating during the pandemic. We did walk past the pool at the Summerland Waterfront Resort and it looked packed. Remember to respect people's boundaries and bring your disinfectant wipes just in case.

These are my tips so far, but I have a few more trips planned before September so I will keep adding to this list. If you have any other constructive suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below!