SALINAS, Calif. (KION)
Hundreds of employees in local wineries and taste rooms could come back to work after being laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 700 employees from tasting rooms across the Central Coast were the most impacted, according to Kim Stemler, Executive Director of the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association.
This is not the only hit the industry took during the pandemic.
Economists estimate a $267 million dollar loss in the Monterey County wine industry.
Local workers say this is mostly caused by closures of tasting rooms and closures of restaurants that put a halt to their wine sales.
"A blip in our food chain can really cause even more stress in the nation," says Greg Gonzalez, Scheid Vineyards Director of Vineyard Operations.
"Ag is ready at any given time to adapt their operations to meet any type of thing."
Local workers say they don't expect a quick financial turn around once wineries and taste rooms reopen.
For now, they say they are happy to get business back and running again.
Taste rooms will reopen on Friday.
Stemler says staff and work hours will be reduced for the next few weeks.
Self-seating will not be permitted to maintain social distancing guidelines.
Face masks will still be required.
Stemler says anyone wanting to visit the tasting rooms should call ahead.