New reopening guidelines take effect Saturday for California breweries, wineries and distilleries. Those businesses will be allowed to operate outdoors even if they don’t serve food, but it’s not quite business as usual yet.
“It feels really good to take that small step,” said Doug Constantiner, CEO of Societe Brewing in Kearny Mesa.
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During the pandemic, Societe has been serving customers outdoors and requiring them to get food from a taco truck in the parking lot. The new guidelines are giving Societe some more flexibility.
“It’s a big win for the consumer. The fact that you can just go have a beer, or a couple of tasters or a flight and you don’t need to order food I think it’s a great win,” said Constantiner.
Under the new rules, breweries, wineries and distilleries in the purple and red tiers can now serve alcohol without food, outdoor reservations are required, customers can stay for 90 minutes and drinking must stop by 8 p.m.
“We love that people are coming in. We have a backbone of loyal customers that come here. We have members who have been with us since the beginning and they’re just happy to be here,” said Jennifer Moreno, owner of Newtopia Cyder in Scripps Ranch.
Moreno is glad to see more reopening. She admits businessowners have been frustrated with the changing guidelines but remains optimistic about the path forward.
“We’ll always be cleaning, and we’ll be social distancing for quite some time I think, but vaccinations right now are the best thing we can do to help stop the spread,” said Moreno
San Diego County residents who work in the food and agriculture sector are now eligible for vaccines.
The San Diego craft brewing industry generates $1.2 billion in economic impact yearly according to a study by California State University San Marcos