Sorry, Bar Nuts Don’t Make Newsom’s New Cut

California’s governor is so desperate to open up the economy and keep the mayors happy that it’s come down to defining what ‘bar food’ really is. Spoiler alert: bar nuts didn’t make the cut.

This will go down in history as one of the dumbest ways to regulate the state, and Governor Newsom is leading the charge. It’s an advisory for the bars to control the spread of the pandemic, but it’s more about what’s on the bar’s menu than anything else.

Bars, distilleries, breweries, brewpubs, and clubs are currently limited to outdoor operations, and only if they offer “sit-down, outdoor, dine-in meals.” Further, they can only sell alcohol if it’s in the same transaction as a meal.

Well, this is a problem. Many bars operate indoors and only put out the occasional bowl of bar nuts that have been fondled by dozens of patrons before getting munched on. How are these bars supposed to operate under the current regulations? Can bar nuts and other snacks be considered a meal?

Newsom wants to make sure no one is taking shortcuts to get around this. Because, clearly, it’s possible to cause the pandemic to spread based on whether you’re eating food with your locally crafted beer or not.

A food truck or local restaurant can be used to provide the meal requirement. But, it’s not quite that easy.

Business owners are struggling to open. They need to get back to a new normal and get their employees back to work. Yet, Newsom seems to be enjoying having the hard-working bar owners jump through some extra hoops for his own pleasure.

Newsom has had the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control issue an advisory to define a “meal.”

Any college student would argue with the list of what is not deemed a meal according to the ABC. Foods typically served as appetizers, like chicken wings and pizza bites? Not a meal. Reheated frozen entrees? Not a meal. “Snacks such as pretzels, nuts, popcorn, pickles, and chips” and “Side dishes such as bread, rolls, French fries, onion rings, small salads (green, potato, macaroni, fruit), rice, mashed potatoes, and small portions of vegetables” are also not a meal.

Instead, they want to see a “legitimate offering of meals in a bona fide manner.”

Well, crap.

So, the governor not only wants to dictate how a bar or other alcohol-serving location can open but also dictate what people have to order in order to get access to the beer and other liquid libations. A “meal” must be available to guests – and since alcohol can only be ordered alongside a meal, it means that people have no choice but to eat a balanced meal with their alcohol.

Who knew that chicken wings and a side salad weren’t a meal. What about the vegetarians everywhere who consider a few side dishes of veggies a meal? Newsom has gone out of his way to interfere with this one.

Not too shockingly, wineries don’t fall into this category. If people just want to nibble on some cheese and crackers while they sip their Cabernet Sauvignon, Newsom isn’t going to stand in their way. It might have to do with the wineries that are in his personal investment portfolio. If he had owned some breweries, the whole food requirement would be a non-issue.

California’s governor may have gone a bit too far with this one. Now that he’s dictating what a meal is and is not, it’s paving the way for him to interfere with all sorts of other aspects of one’s life. He has decided that a meal, available in typical meal hours, should be a “reasonable quantity” and what a “reasonable person” deems a meal. Who defines what is reasonable? College kids and those with lap bands may have very different definitions of a reasonable quantity or type of food that makes a meal. Well, Newsom will be the one to define reasonable for he is king.

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