LA County to allow breweries to reopen in one week, with safety precautions

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 today to allow breweries and wineries to open with outdoor service, similar to restaurants, in one week.

The reopening will come with strict safety guidelines, including limited hours of operation, required reservations and appropriate social distancing.

Supervisor Janice Hahn, who brought the motion forward, said the county has made sufficient progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, adding that the vote today puts the county in line with what the state allows—even for counties in the strictest category of new infections.

“I think it is time that we allow our breweries and wineries to resume outdoor service consistent with the State orders,” Hahn said in a statement.

Health officials in Long Beach did not immediately respond to a question as to whether the vote will impact breweries in the city. Long Beach has its own health department, but has largely followed the county’s lead in reopening various businesses, and is tied to the county in terms of the state indicators for reopening.

Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl dissented, arguing, respectively, that the motion was brought by Hahn without adequate notice and in advance of any such recommendation by the county’s public health director.

The State of California has allowed breweries and wineries to reopen for outdoor service if they partner with a third-party permitted food vendor. However, the County of Los Angeles has not permitted breweries and wineries that do not have restaurant licenses to resume service.  While several breweries and wineries do have restaurant licenses and small kitchens, many do not and have been struggling to survive.

“This is an important step forward for businesses and employees throughout the County,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement.  “As our case numbers have decreased, I have championed for breweries and wineries to reopen safely with necessary health protocols and guidance in place. I am pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate to seek solutions that will help support our communities.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

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