Well being specialists warn towards indoor eating in Oakland and Berkeley

Fully vaccinated restaurant diners are allowed to remain exposed, but health experts warn that people without face covering are at increased risk. Photo credit: Kelly Sullivan

The East Bay COVID-19 case rate is the worst in months, leading experts to suggest that guests – at least – mask themselves again

For a little over a month now, fully vaccinated visitors to East Bay restaurants have enjoyed the opportunity to walk completely maskless, walk through most of the dining rooms, and take their seats with their faces completely uncovered. However, as COVID-19 rates continue to rise, health experts are warning that we are now facing conditions resembling some of the worst days of the pandemic – days when we were not allowed to eat indoors at all.

According to research by the Bay Area News Group, if we lived in California 15 days before June before the color-coded reopening schedule, counties like Alameda and Contra Costa would have fallen all the way back to the purple level, where the restrictions were most severe. Areas in the purple row were forced to close all indoor food and drink and revert to an outdoor, take-away-only model. Bars without food had to close completely in the purple row, including all sales representatives.

As you know, of course, that is not how things stand today. As of June 15, all California businesses have been open without restrictions, and people who are fully vaccinated are not required to cover their faces indoors unless a company directs them to. (Unvaccinated individuals must remain masked, although most bars and restaurants – with a few notable exceptions – have an “honor system” when it comes to confirming vaccination status.) “We all forgot the tier system because we wanted to,” said Dr. John Swartzberg on BANG. He is a retired clinical professor of infectious diseases and vaccinology in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, worried about the region’s rush to reopen. “Compared to a month ago, we’re not doing very well.”

Although on Friday a joint announcement from health officials across the Bay Area “urged” everyone (vaccinated or not) to wear masks indoors, no official mandates have been issued at the state or local level regarding social distancing. Covering your face or restricting your activity. And now some health experts are saying that the increasing ubiquity of the Delta variant could pose a threat even to people who have been vaccinated.

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Speaking to the SF Chronicle, UCSF School of Medicine Chairman Dr. Bob Wachter that “long-term COVID” – the persistent health problems associated with even mild cases of the novel coronavirus – have led him to take stricter precautionary measures. Wachter and Swartzberg both said they weren’t sure if fully vaccinated people were prone to long-term COVID, saying that data on the effects of the Delta variant are currently insufficient.

Stanford infectious disease expert Robert Siegel told Chron that eating and drinking indoors, where simple protective measures like a mask are impossible, “is changing the level of risk because there is a more contagious variety and more viruses.” In the air. “That means, says Swartzberg, that unvaccinated people – including children under the age of 12 whose vaccination has not yet been approved – should skip eating indoors for the time being.” If you have a child who cannot be vaccinated, you have to You do the things you did before we had the vaccines: be careful, ”he said.

But what about the rest of us, the fully vaccinated people who assumed that life would be as normal as possible by now? “If you are in a crowded 40-seat restaurant where no one is masked, there may be a few more fully vaccinated people infected,” reports Chron. So there is a risk of infection, even for people who have received the injection. The solution, experts say, is to stay masked while you walk around the restaurant – or better yet, enjoy your meal outdoors, where the risk of infection seems minimal.

From left: Jameelah Lane, Daniel Harris-Lucas, Yolanda Romo and Erin Higginbotham, worker-owners of DEEP Grocery. Photo credit: Andria Lo

The workers’ own supermarket DEEP Grocery closes at the end of the month

A popular stop at Akoma Market in East Oakland, DEEP Grocery Co-op (Deep East Oakland Empowering the People) launched an online grocery store in April with a mission to provide organic and locally grown produce to underserved areas in East Oakland . The plan, DEEP said at the time, was to find a stationary space for the store, a place where shoppers could pick up groceries and gather as a community.

Speaking to The Oaklandside at the time the store opened, DEEP founding member Erin Higginbotham said the collective felt that “there is a general interest in people wanting to support a service like ours compared to the big retailers” . That support is evident in responses to an Instagram announcement from DEEP this week that said the service will cease operations from July 31st.

The cooperative members are still eager to bring the community “their first worker-owned grocery store,” said DEEP, adding in a caption, “This is not the end!” We’ll come back better and stronger for our community. ”Many responses included hashtags like #customerforlife and #comebackstronger, promising to patronize the group’s service next. DEEP’s online grocery store will remain available through the end of the month, with delivery for Oakland residents and pickup at select times (see here) at San Leandro’s Dig Deep Farms.

A Berkeley student tries to support beloved Vital Vittles Bakery with a fundraiser to support families in the school district. Photo credit: Amalya Dubrovsky

A 14-year-old’s fundraiser to feed the families of the Berkeley Unified School District is almost there

Anjani Chokkalingam, a student at Berkeley High School, only wants $ 3,000. But not for what kids are spending their money on these days (items advertised on TikTok?), But to buy products from a Berkeley mill and bakery to feed the families of their classmates.

Chokkalingam launched a GoFundMe earlier this month to seek the money to buy $ 500 a week worth of merchandise from Berkeley bread destination Vital Vittles. The goal is twofold, says Chokkalingam when the bakery’s owner recently told her that “business has been slowing lately due to the pandemic and they weren’t sure how long the bakery would take”. When considering how to support Vital Vittles (“their bread and muffins are a staple in my family – we all love their products, and I know many Berkeley families do,” she said) she took it Contact BUSD Nutrition Services on director Bonnie Christensen and BUSD Sous Chef Ric Keeley.

With her support, she returned to Vital Vittles with a plan: she would raise money and donate it to BUSD, which would then spend it at Vital Vittles on food that would be added to the school system’s summer grab-and-go meals, of which 600. are distributed weekly to families in need.

The $ 3,000 will go a long way, says Chokkalingam, as “$ 500 buy about 800 rolls (at retail price so Vital Vittles can make a profit).” The fundraiser kicked off last week and has already raised over $ 2,100. Dollars generated in donations. If you want to donate, GoFundMe is here.

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