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Oakland McDonald’s Settles Lawsuit Regarding Those Face Masks Made of Dog Diapers

Plus, Heritage Fire by Cochon555 is going down this weekend in wine country and more intel

McDonald’s Second Quarter Sales Up 57 Percent From Previous Year
An Oakland location of the Golden Arches allegedly gave employees masks made of dog diapers
Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

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

McDonald’s is no stranger to notorious lawsuits — see, hot coffee — and the company’s name is once making headlines for its involvement in a legal battle. The New York Times reports an Oakland location of the international fast food mega-chain recently settled that lawsuit in which staff allege the store’s owner gave them with masks made from both dog diapers and coffee filters “in lieu of bona fide masks” during the early days of the pandemic. Additional claims include that even after employees were given actual disposable masks, they were instructed to wear them repeatedly until they “frayed,” and that the franchise owner’s insufficient COVID-19 safety protocols contributed to an outbreak of the virus that impacted some 25 people — including a worker’s 10-month-old child.

The Times reports that neither side could comment on whether or not the settlement included a financial component, but workers won safety-related concessions including “social distancing, contact tracing, and paid sick leave policies,” per the Times. Worth noting: the settlement did not include any admission of wrongdoing on the part of McDonald’s and the McDonald’s Corporation was neither a defendant in the Oakland suit or a party to the settlement. [New York Times]

  • San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney tweeted that the historic Chinatown restaurant Cathay House is back, Tablehopper spotted first. Per the tweet, the restaurant, which is located on the corner of Grant and California streets, reopened for dim sum last weekend.
  • Feel like you’re paying more for your favorite restaurant meals? It might not be in your mind. The Sacramento Bee dug into numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which indicate “restaurant prices rose in July at their steepest pace in more than 40 years.” Sacramento restaurant owners told the paper they’re struggling to reconcile the rising cost of labor and ingredients with customer expectations. “We’ve tried to keep things relatively stable with our other competitors, but that’s the problem, I guess. No one wants to be the pioneer for the $18 burger in Sacramento,” Kimio Bazett, the co-owner of Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. and the Golden Bear told the Bee. [Sacramento Bee]
  • A mission-based East Bay coffee shop is out some $10,000 after having its front door smashed in repeatedly during the past year, most recently this week. The SF Chronicle says MudLab has been broken into three times in the past year — and the coffee shop isn’t alone. Although a recent California Policy Lab study found Bay Area cities are seeing declines in larceny theft, the Chron points out that a handful of Bay Area food businesses including Cassava, Epic Steak, Waterbar, and Old Mandarin Islamic have all experienced crime since late 2020. [SF Chronicle]
  • Heritage Fire by Cochon555 is going down Saturday, August 15 in Napa Valley. For the cool price of $125 per person, you can “feast on responsibly raised heritage breed animals cooked over live fires” and enjoy free-flowing booze from local breweries, distilleries, and wineries. Tickets and more details are available on the Cochon55 website.
  • And if live-fire cooking during fire season isn’t your vibe, there’s also the Sonoma County Farm Trails’ Gravenstein Apple Fair Benefit Concert on Saturday. The event, held in Sebastopol’s Ragle Ranch Park, combines live music with food, wine, cider, beer, and, of course, a bunch of “your favorite Gravenstein apple treats!” featuring our treasured local apple. Tickets cost $75 and are only available online and in advance so head over to the Farm Trails website if you want in.