Santa Barbara County Wineries Prepare for First ‘Orange Tier’ Weekend
LOMPOC, California – Santa Barbara County has entered the “orange level” of the reopening of COVID-19. The indoor capacity of churches, gymnasiums and restaurants of the “orange level” is 50%. And wineries can have a 25% capacity.
Babcock Winery is gearing up for its first indoor open weekend since the start of the pandemic. They have redesigned their tasting areas to meet COVID-19 restrictions. They can now reopen their 5,000 square foot tasting and shopping warehouse.
Stefan Manns and his friends from Orange County bounced around tasting wines from the Lompoc and Santa Ynez valleys. Manns said of sitting inside again, “It’s a new feeling. An old and new feeling. So it feels like we’re going back to what we’re all used to.”
Kim and her husband John Frazier also visited Santa Barbara County in Orange County for a wine tasting. Kim said, “I’m glad that everything is changing again. Better and better.”
While her husband, John, added: “I’m glad things are getting back to normal a bit.”
The less restrictive “ orange level ” of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan means wineries can reopen seats indoors at 25% capacity.
Lisa Babcock and her husband own Babcock Winery. Lisa said: “We are delighted to welcome people to our huge space, five thousand feet of awesomeness.”
Workers at Babcock Winery, like many others in the Santa Ynez and Lompoc valleys, have said COVID-19 closures over the past year have been a roller coaster ride.
Now, customers are hoping the relaxed guidelines are a positive sign for even more reopenings.
“I can’t wait to find out more,” Manns said. “To get back to the way he was. And to find new places, maybe make new friends and have a good time.”
With Santa Barbara County in the ‘Orange Tier’ Babcock Winery is happy to give customers the option of enjoying their expanded outdoor space or being able to come in, explore, and sit with their wine.
“It was interesting that people could still come in but they couldn’t taste it,” Lisa Babcock said. “So that changed the mood a lot. So having people engaged together inside and out is kind of really helping to set the mood and uplift the whole space.”
Customers appreciate the change of scenery.
“And that just keeps changing,” Kim Frazier said. “The merchandise keeps changing. So it’s fun to see what’s new. And there’s always something new here.”
Babcock Winery is hoping the indoor seating option will attract more customers this weekend.