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Just in Time for the Holidays, California’s Mask Mandate Is Back On

Plus a Bay Area Burger King franchisee stole wages from hundreds of former employees and more food news

Coronavirus Curbs in Italy as Covid Cases Rise

Californians will celebrate the holiday season with masks back on in indoor settings following the announcement of a new mandate from Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday afternoon. As reported by the AP, the statewide indoor mask mandate starts tomorrow, December 15 and expires in 30 days on January 15, 2022. It’ll impact about 50 percent of Californians who aren’t already covered by local mask mandates and comes as COVID-19 cases around the state are on the rise — and as the new omicron variant underscores the hard truth that this pandemic is still not over.

In terms of restaurant dining, the new mandate shouldn’t change much for Bay Area residents. In October a coalition of counties across the region decided to ease indoor mask requirements in some settings, which now vary by county, but San Francisco has not rolled back mask requirements for indoor dining and drinking. So this just means that we’ll still be wearing masks when not actively eating or drinking indoors — and that we’ll also need to keep them on in offices, gyms, religious gatherings, and well, pretty much everywhere.

Across California with this new mandate, there are also some new, tighter restrictions on events larger than 1,000 people; unvaccinated people attending indoor events of that size will be required to have a negative test within one or two days. Travel recommendations have also been updated to recommend that anyone returning to or visiting the state get tested within five days of their arrival. [AP]

SF Burger King franchisee cited nearly $2 million for wage theft

A San Francisco Burger King franchisee was cited $1.9 million for wage theft in 2020 and settled a separate but related case with the city for $800,000 — but workers say they’ve yet to see much money and are now working with non-profit Trabajadores Unidos Workers United to try to raise awareness about the situation, which you can read about in the SF Chronicle. [SF Chronicle]

Here’s the rundown on how Bay Area cities are handling parklets

San Francisco’s efforts to make parklets permanent has been anything but smooth, and the regulations of the outdoor dining spaces vary from city to city. Now the SF Chronicle has a helpful explainer about where things stand from Oakland to San Jose. [SF Chronicle]

California restaurants and grocery stores look to stall new bacon law

An AP report picked up by KTVU says a coalition of California restaurants and grocery stores — including the California Grocers Association — have filed a lawsuit to try to push of the implementation of a new law that they say could cause prices of pork products, including bacon, to skyrocket in the New Year. The law, which is supposed to go into effect on January 1, addresses regulations for the humane treatment of animals. [KTVU]

Cabbage soup fans of Berkeley, stand up

A report from Berkeleyside tells the light-hearted story an actually kind-of-funny joke on Nextdoor: Phil Narodick, a quirky guy who lives in a cooperative household, accused someone in his neighborhood of stealing his family’s secret cabbage soup recipe. It’s a fun read.

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