Distillery tasting rooms in California can reopen for outdoor service and reduced indoor seating after a legal challenge in the County of Los Angeles.

From 15 March, certain on-trade businesses in California were permitted to resume indoor operations at a limited capacity.

Under the regulations at the time, restaurants, bars and other licensed premises with kitchen facilities were permitted to serve alcohol for indoor consumption without an accompanying sale of food.

In contrast, onsite consumptions at distilleries, breweries and wineries was restricted to outdoors only, and patrons were required to purchase a ‘bona fide’ meal in order to buy any alcoholic drinks.

A legal challenge from the Parris Law Firm questioned the ‘discrimination’ against distilleries, breweries and wineries across the state through a class action lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles.

The suit demanded an immediate response as it claimed lawmakers in the county continued to ‘unconstitutionally discriminate’ against distilleries, breweries and wineries.

Solicitor Khail Parris said: “These establishments have been hit the hardest because they rely on regular customers to make a profit, and between the pandemic and the completely inconsistent guidelines provided by the County of Los Angeles, they were barely holding on.”

In response to the suit, the County of Los Angeles has amended its guidelines for the reopening of licensed premises.

Under the updated regulations, wineries, distilleries and breweries that do not currently have a public health permit from the county may operate outdoors, without a requirement to serve food. Venues with sufficient kitchen facilities may also open for indoor service at 25% capacity for patrons ordering a ‘bona fide meal’.

The move brings such venues in line with restaurants and bars, which can offer outdoor dining and drinking, as well as indoor service at 25% capacity.
Via News – The Spirits Business
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