Local brewery adjusts to new county rules amid uptick in COVID-19 cases

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LA MESA, Calif – The continued rise in coronavirus cases in California has forced businesses to stay up-to-date with regularly changing rules.

Cameron Ball, owner and head brewer at La Mesa, Calif.-based Helix Brewing Co.

At La Mesa’s Helix Brewing Co., they’ve shut down and reopened within the first several months of the pandemic. Now, with new rules in place after San Diego County recently was added to a state watchlist, they’re partnering with a local food truck in a bid to remain open.

But chasing the constant moving targets driven by the pandemic has made them weary.

“(They) tell everybody again that the rules are going backwards and starting to change,” said Cameron Ball, owner and head brewer at Helix. “Everybody who walks in here, we have to tell them you can only drink pints if you order food.”

Under the county’s new health guidelines, officials have ordered indoor dining at restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries to close down for the next three weeks due to the region’s high number of positive COVID-19 cases.

Helix Brewing finds itself fortunate with much of its seating already located outdoors, but Ball said they fear potential new regulations could be around the corner.

“You are always trying to guess what the next move is going to be,” he said. “If it does go back to to-go only, that’s going to be hard.”

The brewery’s bartenders say they are happy to be working. Despite the uptick in positive cases in the county, customers continue treating employees well, bartender Nina Holtz said.

“People are being very generous, absolutely,” Holtz said. “People just want to find a place with a little solace.”

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