Letter Requesting Outdoor Dining at Brewery Taprooms

As our local breweries are being forced to readjust their business model seemingly on the fly, I have written the following letter which I have sent to Governor Newsom at https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/, Mayor Garcetti at mayor.helpdesk@lacity.org, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn at FourthDistrict@BOS.LACounty.gov, and the Los Angeles County Health Department at phwebmaster@ph.lacounty.gov. For the “Subject on the emails I used, “Allowing brewery tasting rooms to operate as restaurants.” For the governor’s form they ask if it is pro or con; I selected con, but you can decide for yourself.

You are not only welcome, but encouraged, to copy this, change the signature to your own name and do the same. I would love for them to become overwhelmed with emails on the topic. Of course, you are welcome to modify it to your own words, or change the county if it applies to where you live (it probably does if you live in Southern California).

To California Governor Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, LA County Health Department, all other mayors and elected or appointed officials in Los Angeles County:

At the end of May, Los Angeles County allowed breweries to begin reopening under an advanced Stage 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown. Because of a variance granted, for a month breweries began setting up their operations to ensure social distancing guidelines as well meeting the obligations of providing food so they could operate under the same guidelines as restaurants. This was a fair decision that definitely helped local business continue in their attempt to survive the decimation of today’s economy.

When COVID-19 positive cases began rising, it was decided on July 2 that restaurants’ indoor dine-in services would be closed, but outdoor dining would open and delivery/takeout would be allowed; all bars, breweries, pubs, indoor wineries and tasting rooms were closed.

This letter is to state that it is inherently unfair to not allow craft brewery taprooms to continue to operate under the same guidelines as restaurants.

The primary problem is that this closure is grouping breweries together with bars, presumably because breweries and bars usually both offer beer; they may both even have actual bars in them, but that is where the similarity ends.

Brewery tasting rooms and taprooms are frequently set up with large outdoor areas for the specific purpose of allowing customers to dine outside; it is probably safe to say that most breweries have made arrangements with third parties, typically food trucks, to provide food for their customers. While the county has cities now shutting down streets so restaurants can provide outdoor dining for their customers, breweries are being denied the ability to use the facilities they built for the specific purpose of outdoor dining.

As multiple mayors in Los Angeles County have cited craft beer as a new growth industry for their city, and as millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs are created by craft breweries, which translates to additional tax revenue for our state, county, and cities it just does not make sense to not allow breweries to continue to operate as restaurants if it is logistically possible for them to do so.

Breweries must request the ability to have food trucks in their Conditional Use Permit application. Any brewery that has been approved by their city to have a licensed food vendor onsite, and has the physical ability to provide outdoor dining should be allowed to do so. The unfair, arbitrary closure of an industry makes no sense. In fact, allowing breweries to open under the same guidelines as restaurants, and then yanking the variance away, probably cost them more money than leaving it the way it was in the first place.

Breweries are reporting that they expect to see a 50-80% drop in revenue during a season that is supposed to help them get through the slow winter months. Breweries will not survive if this continues. Breweries have created a unique addition to our local economy not only with the number of employees currently working directly for a brewery, and food vendors, and as a source of donations to our schools, local organizations, and other various charitable fundraisers.

As a constituent, voter, and taxpayer I request that you seriously consider giving breweries that have facilities for outdoor dining, as well as the necessary permits from their city to have an onsite food vendor, to continue to operate under restaurant guidelines for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic reopening of California.

Thank you in advance,

Lloyd Brown
Torrance, CA.

Cheers, support local beer, and stay healthy.

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