CA breweries, wineries that don’t serve meals can soon reopen with modifications in all tiers

Some California breweries, wineries and distilleries that don’t serve meals will be allowed to reopen for outdoor service only starting this weekend under new guidelines released Thursday by state public health officials.

Starting March 13, those businesses will be permitted to serve patrons on-site, regardless of whether they serve food, in counties that are in the purple and red tiers of the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” reopening plan, the California Department of Public Health said.

Under the new rules, customers will have to make reservations and adhere to a 90-minute time limit, according to a health department news release.

Breweries and distilleries that didn’t serve meals were previously closed in the purple and red tiers, the two most-restrictive tiers of the state’s four-stage, color-coded plan guiding sector reopenings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The change will impact Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, which all remain in the most-restrictive purple tier as of Thursday. However, L.A. and Orange counties are on the cusp of being moved to the less-restrictive red tier.

In the orange and yellow tiers, which have fewer restrictions, breweries, wineries and distilleries can start reopening for indoor operations. In the orange tier, capacity limits can be set at 25% of maximum or 100 people. Once the county goes into the least-restrictive yellow tier, indoor operations can increase to a maximum capacity of 50% of 200 people.

Breweries, wineries and distilleries that provide meals already follow the state’s guidance for restaurants and won’t be impacted by the new rules, officials said.

The state on Thursday also issued updated guidelines for bars, though those will remain closed in the purple and red tiers.

However, starting March 13, bars can begin providing outdoor service with modifications in counties that are in the orange tier.

Once in the yellow tier, that sector can resume indoor operations with limited capacity.

As of Tuesday, most of California — 34 of 58 counties — remained in the purple tier. Twenty are in the red tier, three are in the orange tier and just one county — Alpine — is in the yellow tier.

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