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Oakland Is the Latest Bay Area City to Require Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining

Plus, Universal Cafe closes after more than two decades and other food news

CANADA-TORONTO-COVID-19-MEASURES Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty Images

It’s official: Oakland restaurants will soon have to require customers age 12 and up to show proof they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 to dine indoors. The ordinance was approved unanimously by Oakland City Council on December 21; it goes into effect February 1, 2022 and also applies to bars, coffee shops, breweries, and live music and event venues.

Unlike San Francisco’s mandate, Oakland will allow exceptions for those who can provide a verification of a medical exemption and a recent negative COVID test, Berkeleyside reports. The mandate requires establishments post signs by January 15 to alert customers to the upcoming requirement, just to add to the forthcoming burden placed on restaurants. It defines fully vaccination people as those who are two weeks out from receiving their second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — though some San Francisco restaurants have already begun taking the extra step to require diners also provide proof of a booster shot, too.

Oakland joins a number of other U.S. cities, including Chicago and Boston, to recently implement similar policies amid a nationwide surge in COVID cases due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. Still, indoor dining remains on, leaving many Bay Area restaurants to deal with canceled reservations, the potential of temporary closures, and heightened staffing issues. [Berkeleyside]

Beloved brunch spot Universal Cafe closes after 27 years

Longtime Mission brunch staple Universal Cafe served its last Sunday brunch on December 19, the SF Chronicle first reported, closing up its funky 19th Street storefront after 27 years. As has been the case with so many closures in the last two years, owners cited the intersection of an expired lease, pandemic-related financial losses, and a staffing shortage as the reason for the closure. [SF Chronicle]

Lawsuit seeks court to order DoorDash to stop texting drivers

A San Francisco attorney has filed a lawsuit against delivery giant DoorDash for wrongful death, seeking modifications to the company’s practices after a fatal collision in Berkeley in July, during which a DoorDash driver killed a pedestrian. The lawsuit, as reported by Berkeleyside, says that DoorDash has “failed to implement technology that would prevent Dashers from illegally texting while driving,” and that “It turns a blind eye to the corners its drivers are statistically likely to cut in the name of profit.” [Berkeleyside]

Longtime Sacramento Bee food critic dies at 75

Allen O. Pierleoni, who worked as a columnist, travel writer, and food critic for the Sacramento Bee for more than 30 years, died at 75 on December 20 after a short battle with esophagus cancer, the Bee reports. He joined the newspaper in 1986, writing restaurant reviews in addition to covering other topics until his departure in 2017. [Sacramento Bee]