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Sonoma County Institutes Mask Law Fines for ‘Straight-up Jerks’

Also: Farmhouse Thai opens a Lower Haight outpost, and more news to start your day

Coronavirus Pandemic California
Sonoma businesses like La Rosa Tequileria & Grille face fines of up to $10,000 for mask law violations.
Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Tiplines to report mask law violations are getting hundreds of calls, but few tickets have been issued

Sonoma County just joined the growing list of Bay Area counties that will fine restaurants that fail to enforce laws that require customers to keep their faces covered when not actively eating — and so far, the area is also the region’s most prolific ticketer, ABC 7 reports.

Sonoma County approved the new fines — up to $10,000 for scofflaw businesses and $100 for individuals — just last Thursday, an effort to “deal with people who are straight-up jerks,” County Supervisor James Gore told ABC 7. So far, the county has issued four tickets, while, regions with longer-standing mask fine ordinances like Contra Costa or Napa counties haven’t issued a one. Marin has issued one, single ticket, Deputy Environmental Health Director Rebecca Ng says.

It’s not for lack of intel, Ng says, as Marin’s tipline has gotten “some 200 complaints” since July. When asked how many of those got a follow up visit, she said “not that many.” Meanwhile, Sonoma County spokesperson Paul Gullixson tells NBC Bay Area that their tip line got about 250 calls the first two days it was active, most focused on “a handful of businesses” in the area. So far, the region’s four tickets have been to individuals, Gullixson said, but stricter enforcement for businesses is on its way.

And in other news...

  • The pandemic has been rough on all California companies, but a Bay Area researcher says while white businesses on average have seen a 19 percent drop, that percent increases to 43 percent for Latinix-owned organizations. [SF Chronicle]
  • Farmhouse Thai, the Bay Area mini-chain with the pretty takeout boxes, has opened a takeout window at the former Thep Phanom, which closed back in May. Farmhouse’s managing director, Wanvisa “Boom” Wattanadumrong, actually worked at Thep Phanom in the early 2000s, and says that once the pandemic ends, the place will likely reopen for sit-down dining. [Hoodline]
  • One of the Bay Area’s longest-standing vegan comfort food spots, Souley Vegan, will soon be available for delivery in markets outside its Oakland home. Its plant-based Creole menu will be served from ghost kitchens from Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens startup, witl locations in SoMa, 12th Street in Oakland, and Los Angeles. [SF Chronicle]
  • Speaking of ghost kitchens, sociologists say that the lack of visibility ghost kitchens brings to restaurants erodes a restaurant’s connection to its community — and, perhaps, society as a whole, as restaurants are “important because many of us don’t belong to faith communities, for example, so service interactions can be a stand-in for that kind of curiosity.” [Wired]
  • Oakland smashburger pop-up Smish Smash is attracting “in-the-know folks” to Cookiebar Creamery for dishes including a bacon “patty” and a Bordelaise-drenched burger called the Cali Love. [SF Gate]
  • Arab bakery and restaurant Reem’s will serve a special roasted lamb family meal for August 14 pickup in an effort to aid recovery from the explosion in Beirut. [Reem’s/Instagram]

Souley Vegan

301 Broadway, , CA 94607 (510) 922-1615 Visit Website

Reem's [Mission]

2901 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

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