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Yuba County winery reopens, defying state and county orders

Meade Hill Winery reopened their doors after being forced to close due to the pandemic even though Yuba County has not permitted wineries or tasting rooms to reopen.

YUBA COUNTY, Calif. — Yuba County is one of several counties in California that got the green light to reopen faster than the rest of the state, which meant some restaurants could offer dine-in options and other businesses could reopen with restrictions. Although, the clearance for the restaurants did not apply to wineries and tasting rooms.

Kelly Grow is the owner of Meade Hill Winery in Yuba County and posted on Facebook that the winery would have a socially distant reopening celebration on Saturday, May 16, which would allow guests to enjoy wine tastings and purchase bottles of wine to drink at the vineyard.

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“We have a temperature gun, so we will be taking skin readings whenever they show up,” Grow said.

Wine tasting guest Brigitte Arriaga said she is happy to be outside again with friends and felt safe coming to the winery with the extra health measures in place.

“The temperature checks, the masks, the sensitivity to social distancing while still being able to do an outside activity,” Arriaga said.

Yuba County Public Health officials said in a statement, "Under both the local Public Health Order and the State’s Order, hospitality services like bars, tasting rooms and wineries are not permitted to open. These are considered higher-risk sectors due to the number of people in close contact for an extended period of time."  

“We did have a complaint because we put it on social media. We aren’t trying to hide anything and I just kind of ask what’s the worst thing that could happen,” Grow said.

Grow said that if restaurants can open then she feels her winery should be able to as well. Grow plans to keep the vineyard open to those who are willing to come out and adhere to the winery’s social distancing guidelines.

“Anything moving forward that comes to operations right now is coming straight out of our own personal bank accounts, so we don’t really want to be put in that position to make a decision of 'Am I going to pay my electric bill at my home?' or 'Am I going to pay it at the winery?'" Grow said.

ABC 10 reached out to Yuba County Code Enforcement and the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office regarding the complaint made to the winery but have yet to hear back.

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