Bars in California are reopening this week
Good news for beer, wine and cocktail lovers
After a long and extensive lockdown, California is gradually lifting stay-at-home restrictions and that means that, starting this week, bars across the state are allowed to reopen for drinkers in all counties, depending on testing milestones and infection rates.
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Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency, said that a new group of businesses in the drink and entertainment industry, including bowling alleys, breweries, wineries and bars, are set to resume business as of June 12. This is a major step forward because while eateries and restaurants have been allowed to operate with takeout and delivery, drinking spots that don't serve food have been closed for nearly three months.
Individual counties are going to have to contact the CDPH, California Department of Public Health, and provide something called a "written attestation", which is going to include the area's case metrics, county-specific plans to reopen, readiness to fight an outbreak and a summary of social distancing and/or safety measures to make sure businesses can operate. If approved, they will be granted permission to open bars for outdoor and indoor drinking.
As for safety measures, this mostly concerns social distancing requirements between patrons and/or tables and maximum occupancy rules. Individual counties have applied different rules during the lockdown and they're likely to do the same in the reopening phase, which also means that since different sets of rules have created some confusion during the closing phase, the same thing is probably going to happen now.
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Wineries in Napa County, for example, are ready to open and they've actually already filed lawsuits against the state because they believe that the food requirement rule that allowed restaurants to return to business before bars could was discriminatory.
In the central Bay Area, as another example, County Alameda has imposed stricter rules than most other counties in the State. As things stand, every county except San Francisco and Alameda are open for outdoor dining and while San Francisco's outdoor dining begins on June 15, County Alameda hasn't even announced a date yet.
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If you live in the state of California, your best option is to check with local officials and/or local bars to make sure your favorite spot is open.