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New California Bill May Give Restaurant and Bar Workers Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19

Plus hunger strikes, high way closures, and more food news

A view into a kitchen where cooks prepare food on a hot line. Shutterstock
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Fry cooks, baristas, and restaurant and bar industry employees of all kinds will likely be able to collect at least 40 hours of sick leave for missing work due to COVID or for taking care of a family member who suffered from the disease this year. The Sacramento Bee reports that under the new bill passed by the state legislature Monday, many workers in the state will be eligible to receive paid leave for a number of reasons, such as if they were experiencing COVID symptoms, had a vaccine appointment, or were caring for a family member or child due to the impact of COVID. The bill applies to all workers at companies with more than 26 employees and covers time taken off between January 1 and September 30 this year.

Next the bill heads to Governor Newsom’s desk to be signed – but some business owners worry about the impact of legislation; the California Restaurant Association told the Bee the bill would be an additional burden on the already struggling industry since the money for remittances will come from employers, not the state or federal government. “Restaurants were the first to be closed during the pandemic and will be the last to recover from the devastating financial impact of these closures,” Katie Hansen, the California Restaurant Association’s senior legislative director, told members of the assembly budget committee. [Sacramento Bee]

Teacher on hunger strike for Oakland schools hospitalized

Some East Bay residents have made public their anger regarding the Oakland Unified School District’s choice to close or merge schools in the district. One teacher, Moses Omalade, is on hunger strike to protest the changes and has not eaten solid food for eight days; he was hospitalized for his effort, as per a report by KRON4. Student activists shared a public petition with one demand including “more outdoor spaces to eat safely when it rains.” [KRON4]

Farewell to California Kahve at the Great Highway

The debate over the Great Highway’s closure hit the mellow Outer Sunset neighborhood like bull’s horns at the rodeo. Devil’s Teeth Bakery got flamed on Yelp for saying the Highway should stay open to traffic. Beach’n, Avenues San Francisco, and Java Beach said new mobile food businesses could take customers. No matter, as San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department has decided to axe the program, the Chronicle reports. [Chronicle]

Fort Point’s Valencia reopens after long pandemic closure

Today the quirky and design-heavy Fort Point Beer Company has reopened its Mission District outpost. Along the now-walkable and quite busy Valencia corridor, the beer hall has been one of the few to remain quiet throughout the majority of the pandemic. The menu is mostly unchanged, but expect a few new items like Dungeness Crab Deviled Eggs.

Avocado ally holds it down in the Richmond neighborhood

Gary Gragg, owner of Golden Gate Palms and Exotics in Richmond, has been keeping his eye on avocado varietals for years. The Chronicle featured his biodiversity preservation efforts, alongside his righteous YouTube channel.