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$1,000 Fines Mandated for Contra Costa County Restaurants That Break Mask, Social-Distancing Orders

Also: Trader Joe’s says it’s not racist, and more news to start your day

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Restaurants in Contra Costa County could be fined as much as $1000 for failing to enforce mask laws and other health orders
Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Contra Costa County’s Board of Supervisors has approved strict fines for people or businesses that fail to follow mask use and distancing laws

The East Bay region of Contra Costa County is home to cities like Walnut Creek, Richmond, and Martinez — all places where, as of today, bars, restaurants and other businesses face fines of $250 to $1,000 if workers or patrons violate laws around use of face coverings or fail to follow social-distancing rules.

The ordinance (which you can read in full here) was passed Tuesday night by the county Board of Supervisors in an attempt to slow the area’s skyrocketing cases of COVID-19. “We’re not doing it to make money, we’re not doing this to control people,” the East Bay Times quotes Supervisor Diane Burgis as saying. “We’re trying to get control over this disease and get our economy back. We need people to cooperate, to wear their masks. … We need all municipalities to come together so we can tackle this and move on.”

Burgis’s words come after a Tuesday press conference at the state level, at which California Health and Human Services Agency secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that if the state could just get to “80 percent compliance with masking, we could reduce transmission somewhere between 50 percent to 60 percent.” Ghaly said at the presser that for now, the state would hold off on its own set of fines or citations, saying, “We’ve largely left that to the local level...We’ve seen more and more local jurisdictions consider fines for lack of compliance.”

The law also applies to individuals, with citizens facing tickets of $100 for their first violation of health orders, $200 for their second, and $500 for any after that. Enforcement officers also have the discretion to issue a “notice of violation” for scofflaws, kind of like when a traffic cop lets a speeder off “with a warning.” The region joins 13 outer counties across California that ticket and fine bars, restaurants, other businesses, and individuals for violating health orders (here’s a full list), including Marin, Monterey, and Napa Counties.

And in other news...

  • El Burrito Express, a Mexican spot with locations in the Parkside and NoPa, will temporarily close both locations until August 10, after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. [EBX/Facebook]
  • Vintner Barry Sterling, who “paved the way for a new era of California sparkling wine production” at his Sebastopol-based Iron Horse Vineyards, has died. [SF Chronicle]
  • An alleged glitch on the driver-side app for SF-based Uber Eats has erased the option for customers to tip, users say. [CNet]
  • Lito Saldaña closed his upscale Mexican restaurants in Emeryville and Jack London Square during the last recession, and pivoted to fast casual with mole-focused mini-chain Los Moles. Now he’s building a new East Bay empire with 5 Tacos and Beers, which serves exactly what you think it does. [East Bay Times]
  • The owner of 40-year-old Castro gay bar Moby Dick’s says that partnering with a food provider won’t generate enough income to justify a reopening, and that attempts to get grants or PPP loans have been unsuccessful. [Bay Area Reporter]
  • Grocery chain Trader Joe’s disputes arguments from Bay Area teen Briones Bedell that branding like “Trader Ming’s” and “Arabian Joe” are problematic, saying “We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions. ... If we feel there is need for change, we do not hesitate to take action.” [USA Today]
  • 2,154 food service workers employed by Palo Alto-based Bon Appétit Management Company will be laid off today. 667 of them are hourly union employees at Chase Center, 737 are hourly union employees at Oracle Park, and 660 are hourly union employees who worked at both sports venues. [SF Examiner]
  • Despite the pandemic, Twitter building food hall the Market says its planned expansion is still on track. [SF Chronicle]
  • Speaking of staying on track, a bunch of spots are opening for business, here’s a quick roundup: Vegetarian fast-casual Amy’s Drive Thru opens in Corte Madera on August 4 [Marin Independent Journal]. SoMa Italian spot Roma’s will open on August 1, but for not it’ll just be “an Italian gourmet grocery pop-up,” with dining to follow shortly [Hoodline]. Plant-based food truck Malibu’s Burgers is popping up at Timeless Coffee this weekend, and is getting the keys to its permanent Oakland location on August 1 [Berkeleyside]. Afghan specialists Twins Halal House & Bakery has opened in West Oakland with bolani, mantou, and kabobs [Hoodline].
  • And, not a new opening, but a welcome reopening: San Francisco’s oldest ice cream parlor, the St. Francis Fountain, has reopened for the first time since March, with takeout and outdoor dining. [Tablehopper]

The Market

1355 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 767-5130

St. Francis Fountain

2801 24th Street, , CA 94110 (415) 826-4200 Visit Website

El Burrito Express

1601 Taraval Street, , CA 94116 (415) 566-8300 Visit Website