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February COVID-19 Uptick Stalls Indoor Dining in San Francisco

Also: A Facebook group to support local restaurants, and more news to know today

San Francisco diners should keep bundling up for outdoor dining, as coronavirus cases are rising again
Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • At a press conference Tuesday, SF Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax made an alarming announcement: COVID-19 cases are increasing in San Francisco, after weeks of decline. “There has been a trending up of new cases in the last several days,” Colfax said. “Now we are averaging 135 new cases a day. That’s certainly much better than when we were at our peak surge and averaging 373 new cases per day — and that was just one month ago — but our case rate still remains higher than any other previous surge.” The news comes two weeks after the region’s stay-at-home order was lifted, allowing activities like outdoor dining to resume. It’s likely that takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining is all that restaurants will be able to offer for now, as “based on current case rates, San Francisco is still a ways off from exiting the most restrictive purple tier in California’s reopening system,” the SF Chronicle reports. The same is true for the rest of the region, which means that residents shouldn’t expect any new activities — like indoor dining — for now. As of Wednesday, only one county in California has moved to the red tier, SFist reports: Del Norte County, near the Oregon border. At present, only five counties across CA may offer indoor dining, none of which are in the Bay Area.
  • A nearly 18,000-member Facebook group called Bay Area Eats hopes to support local restaurants with write-ups and tips about great dining finds. [Palo Alto Online]
  • Latorra Monk had hoped to make her new restaurant, Oaklandia Cafe, a community gathering spot, but since its opening in June of 2020, her focus has been on just trying to stay afloat. [Berkeleyside]
  • San Jose has joined the push for grocery worker hazard pay, legislating an additional $3 per hour for workers at grocery stores with more than 300 employees. [NBC Bay Area]
  • Nelson German, the owner of Oakland’s Alamar Kitchen, is a contestant on the next season of Bravo reality show Top Chef. [SF Chronicle]
  • SF-based Doordash’s “market capitalization now exceeds that of just about every large restaurant chain in the country, save for McDonalds and Starbucks,” even though the company has yet to turn a profit. [Wall Street Journal]
  • Kosher chef Orit Hendler Leib found new ways to serve diners after her plans to open a cafe were stymied by the pandemic. [J Weekly]
  • After a diagnosis of cancer while uninsured, Bernadine Sewell, the owner of Berkeley fried chicken spot Pinky & Red’s, is reliant on a GoFundMe to pay her medical bills. [SF Chronicle]