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San Mateo Health Officer Says Regions That Ban Outdoor Dining ‘Are in a Worse Spot Than We Are’

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California Coronavirus Shutdown Orders
San Mateo Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow says “I’m not sure we know what we’re doing” when it comes to closing outdoor dining
Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise via Getty Images

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • San Mateo County’s health officer has released a statement on why his region isn’t part of the Bay Area’s stay-at-home order. NBC Bay Area reports that Dr. Scott Morrow believes that “I’m not sure we know what we’re doing” when it comes to closing down outdoor dining, saying “I look at surrounding counties who have been much more restrictive than I have been, and wonder what it’s bought them. Now, some of them, are in a worse spot than we are.” That’s despite concerns raised by folks like UCSF epidemiology professor Dr. George Rutherford, who while speaking with ABC 7 says that the risks for sit-down dining are greatest when “you’re sitting in a restaurant mixing people from four households together at the same table,” as “it’s essentially impossible to eat or drink while keeping a mask on.” Meanwhile, officials in Washington, D.C. say that 14 percent of the area’s traceable COVID-19 “outbreaks” have ties to sit-down dining, Eater D.C. reports, and data from this week says that the Bay Area has “shattered its previous daily high” of infections, the Bay Area News Group reports, “including all-time records in San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties.”
  • Chinatown landlord Betty Louie, whose tenants include Brandon Jew’s popular spot Mister Jiu’s, is working to ensure residents of the neighborhoods SROs are fed during the pandemic. [SF Gate]
  • Instagram-based tortilla business Bolita is selling fresh-made masa balls that buyers knead and press at home. [SF Chronicle]
  • The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will discuss a cap on fees delivery apps can charge restaurants at its meeting today. [KPIX]
  • Meanwhile, Berkeley has launched even stricter regulations for apps: Fees the apps charge customers are capped at 10 percent, and commissions charged to restaurants are capped at 5 percent. [Bay Area News Group]
  • Some Contra Costa County restaurants are flouting the region’s stay-at-home order, with one saying it will offer sit-down dining as part of “a private membership temple so people can come pray called ‘French Laundry Temple of Martinez.’” [NBC Bay Area]
  • Counties across the Bay Area each have their own ways to enforce the stay-at-home, with some accepting phone-in reports, while others require complaints to come through a website. [SF Business Times]

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