On Surfing a Third Wave and Only Vaccinating Hospitality Workers at Restaurants in Distress

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

This past Friday came with news of 737 new cases of Covid-19- the highest daily number recorded in two months. The increase in case numbers over the past few weeks have raised concerns over whether or not BC is heading into a third wave. As the province ramps the vaccine rollout, we continue to cover how the food and beverage industry is managing through ongoing uncertainty.

First up, these concerns around a third wave aren’t unfounded: Many parts of France are heading into another month-long lockdown after the country recorded 35,000 new cases in a 24 hour period.

While Ontario just announced a re-opening of outdoor dining in many areas, the province is also concerned that they are on the brink of a third wave.

Despite this news, restaurant workers in Ontario have been told they’ll have to wait to receive the vaccine.

While BC health officials announced that grocery store workers and warehouse employees will be eligible for the vaccine starting next month, restaurant workers in the province will continue to wait for official word on when they will be eligible. Note: Scout has learned that vaccinations for some hospitality employees will start this week, though only if they work at restaurants that are experiencing outbreaks. Expect more news on this later today.

Meanwhile, Eater has collated state-by-state information on restaurant openings and industry employee eligibility for the vaccine.

As more and more people receive the vaccine, questions arise around the safety of dining indoors. Eater provides a few answers.

The Globe and Mail’s Alexandra Gill pays a visit to Potluck Hawker Eatery and finds a restaurant that has expertly adapted its dine-in and takeout model in the midst of the pandemic.

And speaking of restaurant adaptation, Eater makes the case for the restaurant pivots that should stick around long after the pandemic is over.

With a new Covid-relief package underway in the US, $5 billion of the stimulus package will go to support farmers of colour.

And while white farmers in the US continue to be the primary benefactors of recent (and historical) government supports, some now have the audacity to complain as Black and POC farmers are set to receive debt relief.

“For decades, the US Department of Agriculture systematically denied Black farmers access to the loans and other aid lavished on their white peers, contributing to foreclosures and millions of acres of lost land for tens of thousands of farm families. According to the Land Loss and Reparations Project—a team consisting of Texas A&M’s Thomas Mitchell; University of Massachusetts, Boston, economist Dania V. Francis; the New School’s Darrick Hamilton; Harvard’s Nathan Rosenberg; and journalist Bryce Stucki—the USDA’s historical injustice helped trigger a loss of Black wealth worth at least $300 billion, contributing to a massive and persistent racial wealth gap.”

From sourdough bread to dalgona coffee, The Globe and Mail looks back on a year of food trends through the pandemic.

A recent assessment by the UN has found that we waste upwards of 2 trillion pounds of food per year.

The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner reminds us not to underestimate the cooking prowess of the humble microwave.

Eater on the restaurants we may never know were lost through the pandemic.

Finally, if you could use a small bit of joy to start off the week, consider checking out Michelle Obama’s new Netflix show “Waffles and Mochi”.

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