California releases new guidelines to reopen breweries, wineries

'We're excited to get them in here and have them try our beer.'
FRESNO, Calif. -- More California business owners forced to stay closed under strict guidelines from the state will get to welcome back customers.

Health officials released a new blueprint on Thursday to reopen breweries, wineries and distilleries that do not serve food.

Businesses that don't offer meals can operate outdoors only with several modifications for counties in the purple and red tiers.

Chris Diffey of Procreation's Brewing Company is getting ready to welcome his first-ever customers this weekend as new state guidelines mean he'll finally be able to open the patio to the public.

Until now, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that were not serving food had to remain closed, posing a costly challenge for businesses like the brewery.

"We were actually planning to open Saturday and find a food truck and pay the fees," says Diffey.

Come Saturday, however, new state guidelines from the state department of public health will allow those businesses in the purple and red tiers to open without food, but with modifications.

Bret Engelmann of Engelmann Cellars says along with rules that were constantly changing, the winery was forced to turn to take out while teaming up with food trucks to make a profit.

"I'm glad they took the food part out because a lot of us don't have kitchens so we had to team up with food trucks and you do it the best you could," he says.

The new guidelines are welcome but there are some conditions.

Breweries and wineries not selling food must have people make reservations, and they can only stay for an hour and a half.
The business must also close by 8 pm.

For businesses whose doors have been closed and profits lost, the looser restriction allows for some freedom.

Diffey says despite the restrictions, he's just glad to finally have the grand opening he was forced to pause because of the pandemic.

"We're excited to get them in here and have them try our beer," he says.

Bars that do not serve meals remain closed in the purple and red tiers. However, those in the orange tier can start outdoor operations with modifications.
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