On Tuesday, September 15, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $10 million grant designed to help breweries, wineries, and small businesses that were forced to close or limit operations earlier this year due to California’s pandemic-era mandates. At present, Los Angeles County is the only county in California to ban breweries and wineries from serving customers outside if they do not have an onsite kitchen.
Wineries and breweries can apply for the grant, but each amount will be determined by the number of employees, production output, and other factors, according to the Long Beach Post. Considering LA County hosts hundreds of breweries, wineries, and businesses from Lancaster to Long Beach, the grant amounts could be small.
COVID-19 restrictions on breweries and wineries have decimated these businesses since the pandemic began in March. And while California’s Department of Public Health allowed these businesses to reopen, LA County’s Department of Public Health limits them to operate with retail sales only. Without a steady stream of visitors on-site, winery and brewery revenue has dipped drastically since spring.
According to Spectrum News, the LA County Brewers Guild waged a campaign against the health department to follow the state health officials order and permit breweries to reopen. Their Save LA Brewers campaign represents 93 brewers within LA County. That method seemingly worked, because the Board of Supervisors is calling a vote earlier this week.
“I have heard from so many local breweries that are struggling to stay in business while following the County’s health order,” said Supervisor Hahn in a statement on her website. “With our case numbers on the decline, I am hopeful it will be safe for them to reopen soon. But in the meantime, I want to get them the lifeline they need to make it through this crisis.”
Wineries and breweries have faced consecutive challenges since the beginning of the pandemic. In May, the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control permitted bars to reopen for outdoor service as long as they partner with a food vendor, like an Instagram pop-up or food truck. That same rule did not apply to wineries and breweries. The ABC program was short-lived though, as Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars in LA County closed on July 1.
The County’s funding comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which was allocated to Los Angeles County by the federal government.