Some San Francisco-area restaurants reinstate mask requirements, cut unvaccinated workers over new guidance

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After San Francisco Bay Area health officials issued new guidance Friday recommending that everyone – even those who are vaccinated – should wear masks indoors, many restaurants are now reportedly requiring them again for their employees. 

And at least one employer has decided to lay off any unvaccinated employees just to be safe, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

“If anyone doesn’t want to get vaccinated, we will let them go,” Zareen Khan, owner of Pakistani/Indian restaurant Zareen’s, told the newspaper. “It’s terrible, but we need people to understand this is serious. It’s better to be cautious than to be sorry.”

She said most of her employees are vaccinated. 

Cases have ticked up across the state mostly due to the delta variant.

In Los Angeles officials are now mandating everyone wear masks indoors. 

The Bay Area’s guidance was issued in seven counties: San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma. 

Cassava restaurant co-owner Yuka Ioroi, right, greets a customer picking up a to-go order in San Francisco, April 8, 2020. The restaurant plans to reopen indoor dining in August. (Getty Images)

Many restaurants in the area have reinstated mask mandates for their employees but some are hesitant to require them for customers again.

Xian Choy,  general manager of Wursthall Restaurant & Bierhaus in San Mateo, said she won’t require face coverings for her customers yet because she wants to avoid confrontations. 

“There’s so much friction if we’re the first restaurant to be like, ‘You gotta wear your mask inside,’” she told the newspaper. 

Bob Cina, executive chef of District restaurants in the Bay Area, said he doesn’t believe the restaurant is in a position to require masks if the step is not mandated by the county. 

“People can make their own decisions,” he told the Chronicle. 

Yuka Ioroi, co-owner of Cassava restaurant in San Francisco, said she hopes the recommendations will help mitigate the potential for another lockdown. Her restaurant has a fully vaccinated staff who wear masks at work, she said. The restaurant plans to reopen indoor dining in August.

“I don’t think a lot of restaurants can handle another shutdown,” she told the Chronicle. 

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