On Waiting Out Another Crippling Wave and Feasting to Support Restaurants in Crisis

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

On Monday, health officials announced almost 2,000 new cases of Covid-19 over a two day period. The numbers are in keeping with an upward trend in recent weeks that is causing significant concern for the province. Despite BC’s recent “circuit breaker” approach which has resulted in further restrictions (including the closing of indoor dining), the number of new cases and hospitalizations continue to climb. As we wait to see how this round of restrictions will impact case numbers, we continue to monitor how the food and beverage industry is fairing through much uncertainty.

First up, the restaurant industry reacts to the most recent set of restrictions on indoor dining.

While new restrictions still allow for patio dining, sustainability remains in question for many restaurants with limited outdoor seating.

On the flip side, the frustrated owner of Gusto in Olympic Village decided to loudly ignore the new restrictions altogether, a move that won him few friends in the industry and the neighbourhood.

Similarly, Kitsilano’s Corduroy restaurant was forced to shut down after repeatedly refusing to follow the provincial ban on indoor dining.

Fortunately, the BC Restaurant and Food Association came out with some strong words for restaurants refusing to follow the rules.

You may consider patio dining at a few of these spots as local restaurants fight to stay afloat through the ‘circuit breaker’ shutdown.

Takeout is also a great option to support your favourite spots and Scout continues its regular round ups of all the best dishes you can order to-go.

Meanwhile, as restaurants open back up in many parts of the US, the industry is pushing job growth across the country. But decisions to re-open are still taking place amid rising Covid numbers stateside which raises ongoing concerns about staff safety:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still considers indoor dining a higher risk activity, and President Joe Biden has also asked states to pause reopening efforts. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, asked Americans this week to “hold on a little while longer,” and said she feels a sense of “impending doom” as COVID-19 numbers trend in the wrong direction.”

In fact, both the CDC and the White House are begging states to reconsider lifting the ban on indoor dining until case numbers decrease and more people receive the vaccine.

In response to the Premier’s implication that young people are to blame for the recent spike in cases, a couple of food and beverage employees have pointed out some serious flaws in his argument:

Incensed by Premier Horgan’s criticism of young people while simultaneously introducing new pandemic restrictions that threaten to put thousands of them out of work, the province’s food and beverage workers are dishing back the blame – with invoices attached. “The implication that we’re all just partying undermines the enormous role we’ve played in supporting the economy, educating the public and preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Mr. de Souza Jensen said.

How zero-waste businesses in BC are rising to the challenge at a time when takeout and single-use packaging are on the rise.

Too little, too late: Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey voices opposition to new voter suppression laws in Georgia only after they were passed in the legislature.

“This legislation is wrong and needs to be remedied and we will continue to advocate for it both in private and now even more clearly in public,” Quincey said on CNBC. He continued that Coca-Cola “always” opposed the legislation, but held off commenting publicly until it passed. Which makes total sense — you should always hold off speaking out against bad things until after they’ve already happened, and not when you still have a chance to stop them. Coke, it’s worth noting has considerable influence, not only as one of the biggest companies in Georgia, but also because it’s one of many corporations to donate to the bill’s sponsors. It’s just another reminder that, no matter how many “they” pronouns a company uses in an ad, companies exist to make money, not to further humane policy.

Grub Street explains how New York’s Open Streets will work this year, especially for restaurants for whom the program was a lifeline in 2020.

How some brewers and distillers are stepping up to help address the honeybee crisis.

With food prices on the rise, these tips from the New York Times may help keep the grocery bill within budget.

Looking for working in the local hospitality scene? Check out who’s hiring.

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