FRESNO COUNTY, California (KSEE) – Local bars and breweries are now scrambling after the state orders several counties to shut them down, again. That includes Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties.
There is an exception to this new state mandate, bars and breweries can remain open if they sell food. Customers would have to buy food with an alcohol beverage purchase.
Those we spoke with say they already started doing this earlier this month.
Many bars, breweries and pubs have only been open for about two weeks.
They were part of the state’s Phase 3 plan but as the number of positive COVID-19 cases increase in Tulare, Kings and Fresno Counties– the state is forcing them to close again – for now.
Governor Gavin Newsom says many people have not been as responsible as they could be when it comes to social distancing and wearing masks.
“As you reopen the economy, as we move away and make the meaningful modifications which we did to our stay-at-home order, you’re going to see people mixing that otherwise were not mixing in the past,” Newsom said.
The state’s order impacting those here in the Valley.
For bars and breweries that do not serve food they either have to close, or there’s a loophole, they can contract with a food vendor and remain open.
Po Tsai, with the Modernist bar in downtown Fresno, says they prepared for this scenario eariler this month.
“We have prepared food and bonafide meals so when people come in we provide a meal or we have to mandate a meal with any alcohol purchase, so we are very much prepared,” Tsai said.
Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company Beer Garden is planning to do the same. They are hoping to open later this week.
But a question many have asked is how will this be enforced. The Alcohol Beverage Control says the department’s focus is on bringing bars into compliance.
They released a statement that reads in part:
“We will work with licensees and help clarify matters to help them get through the pandemic. ABC prefers education over enforcement. if we receive complaints we will follow up with the business and request that they follow local and state health directives to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The Modernist says they plan on opening on Tuesday.
Newsom also spoke about family gatherings and the Fourth of July, he says he will touch more on that some time this week.