Wineries plea is heard from Gov. Brown

ROGUE VALLEY, Ore. —During Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s two week freeze, wineries were reduced to take out and delivery options.
As of yesterday, that has changed.

Even though Jackson County continues to be considered an extreme risk county, wineries have some new freedoms under these guidelines.

“We are doing our best to keep our doors open, keep people employed, especially through the holiday season and abide by all the changing rules,” says RoxyAnn Winery.

The Oregon Wine Council and the Oregon Wine Growers Association issued a plea, just weeks ago, asking Governor Brown to consider allowing extreme risk counties to allow limited on-site tastings with additional added safety precautions.

In their letter, they ask to operate outdoors at a minimum. Some can argue, the governor heard that plea.

As of yesterday wineries are now able to operate outdoors only.

“It’s very difficult to provide a winery tasting experience, when people can’t come in and actually taste the wine and enjoy the environment, “says Red Lily Vineyards.

While the wineries say they’re thankful, they say it is still not the same experience.

RoxyAnn Winery in Medford says they are 90% open. “We are doing out best to provide out own services under the current conditions.”

Counties under extreme risk, are allowed up to 50 people outdoors. Groups are limited to 2 households, with no more than six people.

Many wineries lucked out with having a big patio area. According to Red Lily Vineyards, “The advantage we have here, is that we have a large outdoor facility, and so there is plenty of room for people to spread out.”

Some wineries in the area have even gotten creative with how they social distance their guests.

Red lily vineyards in Jacksonville has implemented what they are calling, beach bungalows.

A canopy, that insures a warm private tasting experience, while also following COVID-19 guidelines.

“Just taking advantage of the river, being able to be down by the water, and creating a cozy space, where people can come and enjoy the afternoon,” says Red Lily Vineyards.

While local wineries are hoping to get back to some sort of normalcy, they say they are determined to adjust to changes, and keep their doors open.

With the state allowing outdoor dining, local wineries hope their customers will come and support.

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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