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New California reopening guidance a boost to San Diego County brewers

Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 4:01 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 20:00:09-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — New guidelines for San Diego County's breweries will give brewers the chance to reopen sooner without having to operate under restaurant guidance.

California quietly changed the guidance for breweries and distilleries on Thursday, eliminating the requirement that breweries and distilleries can only reopen outdoors as a restaurant and would need to serve meals with drinks. The soonest that breweries and distilleries would have been able to reopen outdoors would have been the orange tier of California's reopening system.

Meanwhile, wineries have been allowed to operate outdoors with modifications, not tied to serving food and restaurant guidance.

RELATED: California may hit threshold to ease purple tier restrictions in San Diego, other counties by Friday

Starting Saturday, March 13, breweries, distilleries, and wineries will operate under the same guidance in the state's Blueprint for a Safe Recovery and can reopen outdoors with modifications in the purple tier. The guidance includes:

  • Use a reservations system,
  • Allow customers to stay no longer than 90 minutes,
  • On-site consumption must end by 8 p.m.,
  • Locations must operate outdoors for counties in the purple and red Tiers, and
  • Locations can open at limited in-door capacity in counties in the orange tier.

County Supervisor Chair Nathan Fletcher said breweries that have been operating as a restaurant can continue to do so as well.

In a statement, Fletcher said that he and the San Diego County Brewers Guild have been working for weeks to move breweries and distilleries under the same rules as wineries.

"I have been working with the San Diego Brewers Guild and the Governor’s Office for several weeks to establish a safe reopening plan, and I am glad breweries will now be able to open under the same guidelines as wineries," said Fletcher. "This is good for brewers, good for our economic recovery and good for San Diego County."

The new guidance comes one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom said he expects the state to hit its first vaccine equity goal on Friday, which would allow counties in the purple tier to operate under the red tier with a case rate of 10 per 100,000 people, instead of seven.

Local officials expect San Diego County to be in the red tier by this time next week thanks to the tier change. Once in the red tier, restrictions on outdoor and some indoor operations would ease, including:

  • Retail at 50% capacity
  • Movie theaters, museums, zoos, and aquariums at 25% capacity indoors (or 100 people for movie theaters)
  • Gyms and fitness centers at 10% capacity indoors
  • Restaurants at 25% capacity or 100 people (whichever is fewer) indoors
  • Shopping malls with 50% capacity indoors, but closed common areas and reduced food court capacity

California's recent tier changes also benefit theme parks and stadiums. Petco Park expects to welcome in fans for opening day on April 1 after the state issued guidance allowing the two industries to begin reopening in the purple and red tier as well:

  • Theme and amusement parks: 15% capacity once the county hits the red tier. Attendance limited to California residents. Groups must be a maximum of 10 people or three households with no intermixing will be allowed. Indoor capacity at 15% with time restrictions and weekly worker testing. Tickets can only be purchased online as well.
  • Stadiums and live events: Capacity will be capped at 100 people or fewer in the purple tier and 20% in red tier counties starting April 1, this includes suites with 25% occupancy per suite and suites with no more than three households. In-seat concessions.

The state's loosened reopening measures come as California logs nearly 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered. San Diego County has administered more than 1,160,000 vaccine doses as of Thursday. In the county, 678,267 residents (25.2% of the county) have received one dose, while 385,938 (14.4% of the county) have received two doses.