After COVID freeze, downtown Napa begins to open up

Barry Eberling

Napa Valley Register

Jason Holman has a prime view of downtown First Street through the windows of Rebel Vintners. Last week, he saw fewer people passing by than on a typical, pre-COVID-19 weekday.

“It’s not come back to anywhere near normal,” the tasting room co-owner said Thursday afternoon.

But it’s coming back. A fair number of smiling people strolled along the streets, holding shopping bags and food. Couples sat along the tiered grass-and-concrete embankment at Veterans Memorial Park that overlooks the Napa River.

Downtown Napa didn’t look like a boomtown on this particular day, but no longer was it a ghost town.

A sign on the Archer Hotel Napa lobby door said “Together again on June 19.” A few guests walked into a reopened Andaz Napa hotel. Holman thinks the return of the hotels will make a difference for the downtown’s post-lockdown rebirth.

“Huge difference,” he said.

Weekends have brought more of that boomtown boom. On a recent Saturday, enough people came to downtown that it was difficult to socially distance on narrow sidewalks at times.

What a difference a couple of months make.