Following this week’s news that it’s masks on again for the entire state of California, Bay Area health officials made a clarification on Tuesday, granting San Franciscans last-minute exemptions from the renewed statewide mask mandate for all indoor spaces. Specifically, the city’s offices and gyms that already allowed fully vaccinated people will remain exempt from masking.
The new state masking rule, which dropped Monday, December 13 amid the emergence of a new threat poised by the contagious omicron variant, requires all Californians to wear masks indoors until at least January 15. (It didn’t change anything for San Francisco restaurant dining, as the city still has masking requirements for indoor dining and drinking, unlike some neighboring counties.) The exemption that followed, as reported by the SF Chronicle, is really more of a clarification — it allows SF to maintain existing local mask rules for certain settings because of the city’s COVID numbers, which SF health officer Dr. Susan Philip calls a “recognition” of the efforts residents have put into “staying safe as possible.” The exemption was also granted to Contra Costa, Alameda, and Marin counties.
While the impact of the exemption is limited, it’s still encouraging for the region — despite the first U.S. case of omicron being discovered in San Francisco, few additional cases have been detected so far, hospitalizations remain low, and vaccination rates are high. [SF Chronicle]
Dungeness fishing season kicks off just in time for New Year’s
San Francisco’s much-delayed Dungeness crab fishing season, postponed due to the risk of whales getting caught in crab pot lines, finally has a launch date: December 29, just in time to kick off the New Year with that sweet, sweet crustacean meat. The decision by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, reported by the Mercury News, opens up the last portion of the California coast still waiting for the go-ahead from state officials. Can’t wait until New Year’s? There are plenty of spots bringing in hauls from counties north and south of the city proper to satisfy the Dungeness craving right now. [Mercury News]
Oakland restaurants commit to surcharge to feed people without housing
Nearly two dozen Oakland restaurants have come together to commit to adding a 1 percent surcharge to their bills next year, the SF Chronicle reports, money that will go to serving meals every month to people without housing in Oakland. Set to begin January 10, the move is part of nonprofit Community Kitchens Oakland’s new Dining for Justice program, and includes participants like Everett & Jones BBQ, Friends & Family, and Wahpepah’s Kitchen. [SF Chronicle]
International Smoke drops gold-plated cocktail in honor of Steph Curry’s three-point record
There never seems to be a shortage of restaurants proliferating gold leaf-plated food gimmicks, so why not add a gold-laced cocktail to the mix? At International Smoke (by Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry), the restaurant is, fittingly, celebrating Steph Curry’s new record of 2,974 3-point baskets, achieved during the Warriors’ game Tuesday night, with the 3-Point King cocktail: It mixes Don Julio 1942, ancho reyes, pineapple, lime, agave, and 24K gold — for a thematically appropriate $29.74.