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LA County Bars Can Reopen — With These Rules

A strawberry martini. (<A HREF="">daspunkt/Flickr Creative Commons</a>)
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Well, it finally happened. L.A. County said bars, breweries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, craft distilleries and wineries could reopen at 50% capacity starting June 19, but dancing there is prohibited — along with karaoke, trivia, open mics, bowling, billiards, board games, drinking games, contests and other forms of revelry. Yes, we are living in Footloose.

Also, you can't stand and drink. Customers are not allowed to buy or consume beverages while standing.

You can order and drink at the bar if you stay seated and six feet away from other patrons as well as the bartender. You cannot order and pick up drinks at the bar and then walk them to your table. Drinks ordered at your table will be brought to you.

If you're at a winery, brewery or distillery tasting, you should get a new glass for each pour and there won't be any communal dump bucket.

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BONUS: If you've got old people ears (it us!) or you simply hate shouting as you're trying to have a casual conversation in a bar, you're in luck. Venues must lower the volume of their music so wait staff can hear customers without leaning toward them. It's all part of the goal of "reducing person-to-person interaction."

As part of that, venues will be operating at reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing. Don't get cranky if you are asked to wait in line before you can enter your favorite watering hole. The venue is probably trying to ensure it doesn't have too many patrons.

You'll also see more mobile ordering, contactless payment and texting on arrival for seating.

Once you do get in, bars will be instituting a variety of protocols to maintain physical distancing -- both between customers and staff and between different groups or tables of customers. Those protocols might include different seating arrangements, physical barriers and hermetically sealed antiseptic pods. Okay, probably not that last one. But everything else. Be patient.

Also, all wait staff and other employees must wear face shields, which companies are required to provide for their workers.

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We've heard anecdotal reports of some customers mocking servers for their facemasks. Yes, really. If that is even in the realm of something you might do... STOP IT. Go home, think long and hard about your life, and try to be a better human.


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