Alameda County officials keep mum on COVID-19 outbreaks at restaurants

Plus: Road testing restaurant vaccination proof procedures; love for OKO; more Quick Bites.

The Richmond warehouse for meal kit company HelloFresh was the site of Contra Costa County’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak. Credit: HelloFresh
  • An investigation published this weekend from Bay Area News Group on outbreaks of COVID-19 at restaurants and other businesses is headlined “Bay Area businesses with COVID outbreaks were rarely inspected for violations,” but when it comes to the East Bay, things are less clear. According to the report, Alameda County has “resisted disclosures” when it comes to businesses fined for public health order violations, nor will the county provide information on workplace outbreaks. Contra Costa County does a little better in terms of transparency, reporting that its biggest outbreak “was 171 cases at a HelloFresh warehouse in Richmond,” a meal kit company that was hit by a $8,435 fine from Cal/OSHA — not the county — “for workplace safety violations, including not requiring masks on the assembly line and in break rooms.”
  • Two more East Bay cities have extended their outdoor dining programs. The Independent reports that the Pleasanton City Council has agreed to allow outdoor venues (many of which are in the parking lane) to remain until the end of 2021, and “directed staff to research the possibility of extending pop-ups into a more permanent parklet program.” And in Walnut Creek, Bay City News reports that its council also approved an extension of its outdoor program (called “Walnut Creek Rebound”) until the end of the year, and is “currently conducting outreach to determine which elements of Rebound to keep in 2022.”
  • Citing “insufficient evidence,” the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office won’t file charges against the man arrested in last month’s fatal shooting just outside Walnut Creek bar Spoontonic Lounge. The Bay Area News Group reports that in court records, police say that there was “a chaotic series of confrontations” inside and outside the bar, and alleges that members of the victim’s party were ejected from the business for sexually harassing female patrons. Police say they’re seeking more witnesses and “anyone with information related to the case.”
  • SF Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho visited new Oakland wine spot Snail Bar shortly after the venue started requiring that all patrons show proof of vaccination. “Showing proof was painless,” she writes, as she just showed “a screenshot of my digital record alongside my ID” for entry. (Ho did note that “my vaccine record has my name on it, which is scary when I’m trying to move about as a critic without being noticed,” but given how short-staffed and harried most businesses are these days, I think she’s going to fly under the radar just fine.) You can see Nosh’s running list of East Bay bars and restaurants that require proof of vaccination here.
Eve Batey is Berkeleyside's interim Nosh editor. Email: eve@berkeleyside.org.