County Temporarily Allows Wineries to Serve Food

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County Temporarily Allows Wineries to Serve Food
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Municipal Winemakers in the Funk Zone before COVID-19 (edhat file photo)

Source: County of Santa Barbara

In order to minimize the economic impacts of COVID-19, the County of Santa Barbara is providing a clear, quick path for wineries and wine tasting rooms to begin serving food in order to operate in Stage 2 of Governor Newsom’s four-stage COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap. On May 25, County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato, serving as the Director of Emergency Services, declared Emergency Rule #2, temporarily suspending County Code Chapter 35 Zoning Regulations and Permit Restrictions and any zoning development standards or regulations that otherwise prohibit or limit wineries and wine tasting rooms from serving food. 

This temporary suspension of restrictions authorizes wineries and wine tasting rooms to serve food during the COVID-19 emergency, as long as they are compliant with state laws regulating retail food, alcohol, alcohol licensing and all local directives regarding reopening of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic response, including certification or attestation of a COVID-19 protection plan.

This emergency rule went into effect immediately and will remain until 1) December 16, 2020; or 2) the proclaimed Santa Barbara County Local Emergency from the COVID-19 virus is terminated; or 3) the rule is superseded by the adoption of amendments to the County zoning ordinances by the Board of Supervisors, whichever is earlier. The rule will be recommended to the County Board of Supervisors for their confirmation on June 2. Additionally, the County Planning and Development Department will present recommended zoning code amendments to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in June 2020.

This emergency rule continues implementation of the County’s Small Business and Community Partnership Enhancement Program (SBCPEP) that launched on May 21 to allow businesses or other organizations to expand into adjacent public right-of-way outdoor areas in the unincorporated areas of the county to accommodate required social and physical distancing protocols and safe practices.

Businesses and community entities interested in Phase 1 that seek to use the public sidewalk or roadway for their business operations must submit an encroachment permit application, site plan, and certificate of insurance. Only businesses authorized to be open under the Governor’s Roadmap and the County’s RISE Guide will be granted a permit. A second phase is being developed to allow expansion onto private property, such as parking lots. For more information, go to

Santa Barbara County RISE Guide:
The Santa Barbara County RISE (Reopening In Safe Environment) Guide was developed within the framework of Governor Newsom’s Resilience Roadmap by medical and public health experts to create a science-based framework by which to reopen in a phased manner, while prioritizing public health and protecting our most vulnerable populations. Development of the RISE Guide was supported by feedback from many sectors of the community. The RISE Guide is available for public review and feedback at

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a-1590526793 May 26, 2020 01:59 PM
County Temporarily Allows Wineries to Serve Food

PETERN. No, wine bars/wine tasting rooms that don't serve food can't reopen unless they pair with a restaurant or food truck. Like most of stupid rules that have been laid down locally and statewide, this just does not make sense. Why not let wine tasting rooms open at 50% capacity, or at least with chairs, bar stools, or tables six feet apart? Oh, I know why, it because of the government clowns that run this state and desire to control citizen living here and every business that is trying to survive.

a-1590528022 May 26, 2020 02:20 PM
County Temporarily Allows Wineries to Serve Food

@1:59pm, I agreed until the last sentence. The government is money-driven and money-focused, they want this economy opened more than anyone so they can take their cut of everything. Take a deep breath and realize this might be for the community's good. People who drink without eating tend to loosen up and forget restrictions and social distancing, that's why drunk people talk really close to your face.

a-1590727955 May 28, 2020 09:52 PM
County Temporarily Allows Wineries to Serve Food

Open only IF food & alcohol ate sold together. That is what I understand. No sense to allow an open if only alcohol is purchased. We would just have lot's of drunk tourists and some with coronavirus would certainly spread the disease more. Drunks always mess things up.

a-1590527664 May 26, 2020 02:14 PM
County Temporarily Allows Wineries to Serve Food

Phase II reopening says they are only allowed to re-open IF they sell food (in addition to alcohol). Establishments that serve alcohol only are not allowed to open under Phase II.

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