NAPA (KPIX 5) -- Napa County is set to enter California's Orange Tier of coronavirus restrictions as soon as April 1st. It will be a significant milestone for a part of the Bay Area that depends on a steady flow of visitors from far and wide.
"It was kind of like a ghost town here in Napa for a while," says Greg Filippi of Jax Diner in downtown Napa. "It's awesome to see people out in the streets and everybody's coming back."
A warm Friday made for crowded sidewalks in downtown Napa. Most of the visitors, however; people from not that far away, just looking to stretch their legs a bit.
"The locals are happy to be out," Filippi says. "The weather has been beautiful for the last couple weeks."
"Same," adds Rod Santos of William Harrison Winery. "What we're not seeing yet is a lot of people from out of state."
William Harrison is also starting to dig out from the pandemic.
"Yeah, we were down about 45% in visitations last year," Santos says.
But again, most of their visitors right now is regional: Bay Area and Sacramento. Napa's economy depends on large numbers of visitors from out of state and around the world.
"That's the nature of the beast," Santos explains. "We really depend on that traffic. So until people are comfortable getting on a plane and travel in a little bit more, it's gonna be a while before we are where we should be."
But people are coming back.
"The wife's birthday," says Travis McKinney of Fremont. "She missed last year, so this is the second round of taking a birthday. We're trying to make the most of it."
Hotels are also starting to fill up on weekends, and there is hope that the Orange Tier will bring more traffic during the week.
"We're optimistic," Filippi says. "The vaccine rollout seems to be working out. I think people are ready to get back to a sense of normalcy."
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