On Pandemic Diners Being Abusive and Underage Drinkers Getting Sneaky

The Intelligence Brief is our weekly compendium of food and drink news sourced from outlets all over the world, including right here at home.

As we approach another long weekend in BC, we continue to see a rise in Covid-19 cases, a number of which have been linked to bars and restaurants across the province. Health officials are asking the public to reduce social interactions again in order to avoid a reimplementation of more stringent social distancing measures. This week’s Intelligence Brief continues to look at how the hospitality industry is responding to these extraordinary times.

This past week, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new health measures for nightclubs and bars in the hopes of curbing some of the cases the province has seen pop up in these spaces.

“According to the changes, all patrons must be seated at designated seats, self-service liquor isn’t permitted (such as patrons ordering from the bar), and dance floors also aren’t allowed. Measures must be in place to reduce lineups, gatherings, and areas of congestion.”

The rise in cases comes with a plea from the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association for members to follow Covid measures in order to avoid further shutdowns.

It’s about damn time! Starting August 1st, face masks will be mandatory in all McDonald’s restaurants across the US.

With an already-struggling restaurant and tourism sector, many folks are concerned about how the industry will manage if numbers continue to trend upwards.

And those fears aren’t completely unfounded. Yelp released a report last week which showed that 60% of the restaurants listed on their platform that had planned temporary closures due to the pandemic have now closed permanently.

A word of advice to diners: If you do decide to dine out, don’t be an abusive asshole! And a word of advice to owners: Don’t let this get to the point of your employees crying in the back room before you address shitty behaviour on the part of your guests.

While many folks are debating if it’s ok to dine-in at restaurants right now, our Mayor decided that not only is it ok, but the rules didn’t necessarily apply to him.

As restaurants in Chicago continue to operate despite a concerning rise in cases, many workers worry that their employers are prioritizing the bottom line over their health and safety.

“A survey from Chicago Restaurant Workers found nine out of 10 workers do not feel safe under the current rules and regulations. And about 70% of them said they feel unsafe around customers.”

Similar sentiments were shared by restaurant workers in LA who’ve reminded us that they are, in fact, risking their live in order to serve guests.

“In the midst of this pandemic, we don’t need business as usual. We need a culture of caring that flows from restaurant employer to employee to guest — and back again.”

Further, Eater explains who is currently most at risk of catching Covid-19 in a restaurant setting.

“A restaurant employee may be more or less likely to catch the novel coronavirus from a customer depending on their position. Hosts, bartenders, servers, and any other front-of-house workers take the greatest risk by sharing indoor space with customers, who may or may not show symptoms even if they’re infected with COVID-19.”

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not it’s ok to dine out during the pandemic, tune into a conversation with Eater editors Gabe Guarente and Amy McCarthy and Eater NYC food critic Ryan Sutton as they discuss the issue today.

As protests in support of BLM continue, restaurant workers across the US are demanding their employers demonstrate a deeper commitment to racial justice.

“The disconnect between corporations tweeting support for the Black Lives Matter movement while continuing to treat employees poorly was one of the main issues brought up in a press call about today’s strikes.”

This week in drinks and podcasts: The folks at The Daily Beast discuss advocacy efforts that are underway to help the bar industry survive the pandemic.

While you may have missed this weekend’s BIPOC Foods Vancouver virtual pop-up, you can still support these participating businesses anytime!

Finally, underage teens are capitalizing on mask mandates and going to great lengths to score booze these days. Hope that Palm Bay was worth the effort, kid!

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