Governor Issues Guidance / Directive on Closure of CA Bars, Clubs, Winery Tasting Rooms, On-Premise Retailers
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that due to efforts to reduce the potential spread of the novel coronavirus, he was directing the closure of “all bars, nightclubs, wineries, brewpubs, and the like.” Restaurants, however, are not directed to close at this time, but are subject to reduction of occupancy and social distancing guidelines. Although the Governor did not explicitly state as much, the closure directive appears aimed at suspending on-premise retail privileges (i.e., the service of alcohol for consumption at the licensed premises), whether those privileges are exercised at stand-alone premises or at locations tied to alcohol beverage production facilities, such as tasting rooms.
The directive is not an order, but has the same force as the Governor’s guidance last week regarding non-essential social functions over 250 attendees.
While the Governor announced that the directive would apply to “wineries,” it appears that this may only apply to a winery’s tasting room operations, and does not impact production operations. A number of on-premise licensees may also have off-premise retail privileges. It is unclear whether the Governor’s directive allows these licensees to sell sealed bottles for consumption off the licensed premises during the closure period.
We have been in contact with representatives of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and expect further guidance on Monday, March 16. We will update this post with any additional information.
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