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County Eases Restrictions for Wineries and Tasting Rooms Serving Food

Post Date:05/26/2020 7:31 PM


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or 2) the proclaimed Santa Barbara County Local Emergency from the COVID-19 virus is terminated; or 3) the rule is superseded by the adoption of amendments to the County zoning ordinances by the Board of Supervisors, whichever is earlier.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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