la-county-brewery-sues-over-one-day-advance-reservations

 A Palmdale brewery is challenging Los Angeles County’s recently enacted health order that requires customers to make reservations one day in advance before visiting a brewery or winery without an in-house kitchen.

Attorneys for Transplants Brewing contend the one-day advance reservation requirement isn’t imposed on breweries that have in-house kitchens.

The requirement “places breweries and wineries which lack onsite kitchens in a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis restaurants, breweries and wineries which do have an onsite kitchen,” according to a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit submitted Wednesday but not yet officially filed.

The county’s coronavirus health order was modified Tuesday — at the direction of a divided county Board of Supervisors — allowing breweries and wineries that do not have kitchens to resume outdoor food and beverage service in partnership with a third-party food vendor. The order requires all alcohol purchases to include a food purchase.

The board motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn also included a requirement for customers to make reservations in advance, but it did not specify how long in advance.

The health order issued Tuesday requires customers to make “a prior reservation for a table at least one day in advance” to be seated at a brewery or winery.

According to the health order, the advance-reservation mandate was included “in order to ensure there is no gathering and sufficient area for physical distancing of 6 feet or more.” All customers must be seated at a table to be served.

County officials did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis, speaking to reporters in an online media briefing, wouldn’t directly address the issue of advance reservations, but said state alcohol regulators set guidelines for what businesses qualify as restaurants, which leads to breweries without kitchens being treated differently.

“As the state looks at the overall activity at the business, in order for it to be a restaurant the primary service has to be food and the alcohol service is secondary,” Davis said. “So in order for them to operate as a restaurant they have to partner with those who are certified to provide food or licensed to provide food or some other entity in that regard in order to do business as a restaurant.”

> HEY, EVERYBODY, AND WELCOME TO STONE BREWERY. THIS IS IN SAN DIEGO. IF YOUu2019RE LOOKING FOR A PATIO, GREAT OUTDOOR AREA WITH A COLD BEER, THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE. Iu2019M GOING TO INTRODUCE YOU TO MY FRIEND GREG, AND HEu2019S GOING TO TELL YOU WHY THIS PLACE IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN ALL E OTHERS. HEY, FRED. >> HOW ARE YOU? >> HI. DOING WELL. THANK YOU. Iu2019M LOVING THIS SPREAD. LOVING THE OUTDOORS. I SEE THAT WEu2019RE SIX FEET APART. IF YOUu2019RE OKAY, Iu2019M GOING TO TAKE THIS DOWN BECAUSE I AM GOING TO EAT THIS AMAZING MEAL THAT YOU HAVE IN FRONT OF ME. WHAT IS THIS? IT LOOKS LIKE A PRINGLES SPECIAL. >> THAT IS OUR TORNADO POTATO OR SARATOGA SWIRL. THAT IS OUR FISH AND CHIPS MADE WITH OUR SALT AND LIME LAGER THAT WE MAKE A BEER BATTER OUT OF. >> I CAN TASTE THE LIME. INCREDIBLE. VERY COOL. OKAY. SO LETu2019S ALSO TALK ABOUT THIS ATMOSPHERE. I LOVED WALKING IN HERE. Iu2019M LOVING THE FRESH AIR. BUT THIS PLACE IS MASSIVE. I DONu2019T THINK PEOPLE KNOW HOW BIG THIS IS. >> WE HAVE SOME AMAZING GIANT-SIZED RESTAURANTS AND GARDENS IN OUR ESCONDIDO LOCATION AND LERTY STATION CAN HAVE AT LEAST 6, 700 PEOPLE. BUT OUR OUTSIDE SPACES SEPARATE US FROM THE COMPETITION. >> AND I THINK WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT IS FEELS REALLY SAFE. OBVIOUSLY ALL THE TABLES ARE EXTREMELY SEPARATED. AND YOU HAVE A REALLY COOL — I WAS ENJOYING IT EARLIER. IT WAS ALMOST KIND OF A LOUNGE AREA. I HAD A BEER. THAT ALSO FELT REALLY SAFE BUT REALLY RELAXING. >> DEFINITELY. A LITTLE MORE CASUAL OUR OUTSIDE SPACE WHERE YOU CAN SIT IN AN ADIRONDACK WITH SOME FRIENDS, HAVE A LIGHT BITE AND SOME BEERS. NOT THAT THIS IS FORMAL BY ANY MEANS, BUT DEFINITELY A LITTLE MORE CASUAL OUT THERE. SO PEOPLE REALLY ENJOY THAT. >> DEFINITELY. WELL, WE HAVE TO GET TO THE FOOD. YOU GUYS ARE KNOWN FOR YOUR BEERS. BUT YOUu2019RE ALSO KNOWN FOR SOME OF YOUR INCREDIBLE DISHES. IS THAT A CHICKEN SANDWICH? THAT LOOKS AMAZING. >> THAT IS OUR FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH. WE ACTUALLY HAVE A CHOW CHOW ON THE BOTTOM AS WELL AS A COMEBACK SAUCE, WHICH IS KIND OF A SOUTHERN KICKED UP SAUCE THERE AND HOME MADE PIMENTO CHEESE. >> I SEE YOU DO HAVE THE AHI. >> WE HAVE THE AHI POKE NACHOS WHICH HAS THE WONTON CRISPS AND A LITTLE AVOCADO. >> I HEAR THIS IS FAMOUS ACTUALLY. >> THATu2019S THE BURGER. THAT IS OUR TRUE CRAFT BURGER, WHICH ACTUALLY HAS HUMANELY RAISED ORGANIC MEATS FROM MOUNT SHASTA IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. SOME MISO MAPLE BACON, CHEDDAR. ITu2019S A RIDICULOUSLY GOOD BURGER. >> I ALMOST DONu2019T WANT TO BITE INTO IT BUT Iu2019M GOING TO BECAUSE YOUu2019VE SOL ME ON IT. I KNOW IN SAN DIEGO YOU HAVE A TON OF BREWERIES HERE. SO WHAT SET YOU GUYS APART FROM EVERYONE ELSE? >> I THINK CLEARLY THE BEER IS A SEPARATOR AND OUR AMAZING TEAM. BUT OUR SPACES, THE OUTDOOR SPACES IS REALLY IN OUR CULTURE AND PART OF OUR ETHOS. YOU HAVE THESE SPRAWLING GARDENS THERE. AND WEu2019VE BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME. ITu2019S OUR 24th ANNIVERSARY COMING UP. >> CONGRATS! >> SO STONE HAS BEEN AROUND QUITE SOME TIME AND REALLY IS THE STAPLE HERE IN SAN DIEGO IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. >> GREG, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME. YOU DRINK UP. Iu2019M GOING TO EAT UP. THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE LOOKING FOR JUST A GREAT PLACE, COME TO STONE BREWERY AND ENJOY THE OUTDOORS. >> BYE, GUYS.”,”video_id”:”1794011715542_968″,”video_length”:”238672″,”video_provider”:”mpx”,”alleypack_schedule_unpublish”:””,”feed_remote_id”:”mpx_1794011715542″,”feed_thumbnail_url”:””}’ data-livestream=”false” data-title=”A COVID-Safe Dining Haven: Craft Beer & Burgers at Stone Brewery” data-vidcid=”1:9:2433134″ data-vidurl=”https://www.nbclosangeles.com/california-live/a-covid-safe-dining-haven-craft-beer-burgers-at-stone-brewery/2433134/” data-islead=”false” data-catnames='{“1587″:”California Live”}’ data-tagnames='{“816480″:”Amber Pfister”,”70127″:”California Live”,”852122″:”craft beer”,”817179″:”foodie”,”852121″:”Stone Brewery”}’ data-customdata=”{}” data-autoplay=”false” data-cplay=”true”>

The reopening of breweries and wineries without in-house food service has been contentious. Breweries without kitchens engaged in an extensive lobbying effort, claiming they were being treated unfairly in comparison to similar businesses that prepare their own food. Many contended they would be forced out of business.

County health officials were reticent to allow the breweries to reopen, citing the primarily alcohol-related nature of the businesses and the likelihood of brewery customers to gather and inter-mingle, potentially spreading COVID-19.

Despite those concerns, Hahn — whose South Bay district has a large concentration of breweries — introduced a motion last week calling for them to reopen, and the board passed the proposal on a 3-2 vote. The resulting revision
in the county’s health order hints that health officials were not fully on board with the reopening, stating, “This order is directed solely by the Board of Supervisors.”

In his Thursday online media briefing, Davis dodged a question about whether the Board of Supervisors may have erred in allowing the breweries to reopen. But he said business reopenings in general lead to more virus transmission.

“We’ll see what happens in that,” Davis said when asked about breweries. “… As with every reopening, we tend to see some increases in cases. Don’t know what that magnitude might be, and so we’ll find out as this moves forward. I would also caution to say we have a number of other reopenings, so any increase that we see, we’ll have to see if we can actually differentiate what activity the person may have been involved in to see if it’s associated with that or not.”

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By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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