State says breweries and wineries may open outdoors starting Saturday; bars will have to wait

Continuing efforts to slowly loosen COVID-19 business restrictions, state health officials today issued rules allowing breweries and wineries that do not serve meals to reopen outdoors, while also setting a path for the reopening of bars.

According to the updated rules, beginning this Saturday, breweries, wineries and distilleries that do not serve meals will be permitted to reopen outdoors in counties that are in the restrictive “purple” and “red” tiers of the four-tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Customers must have advance reservations and will be limited to 90 minutes, and all on-site alcoholic beverage consumption must end at 8 p.m.

In counties listed in the less-restrictive “orange” tier, the operations can reopen indoors at 25% capacity, while in the least-restrictive “yellow” tier, indoor capacity can increase to 50%.

The new rules do not apply to breweries, wineries and distilleries that serve food. Those establishments will continue to be governed by the same rules as restaurants.

The state’s guidance, however, is subject to approval by individual counties. Counties are permitted to impose tighter restrictions than the state.

Los Angeles and Orange counties are both still in the most-restrictive “purple” tier, but they are expected to advance to the “red” tier by early next week.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said at a media briefing earlier Thursday that the city would follow state guidance if the county reaches the red tier, but he did not specifically address breweries and wineries.

The new state guidance maintains the closure of bars in counties in the “purple” and “red” tiers. When a county moves into the “orange” tier, bars can reopen outdoors with safety modifications. Bars can reopen indoors at 25% capacity when a county reaches the least-restrictive “yellow” tier.

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