click to enlarge EMPTY SEATS: Chop Bar-owner Chris Pastena was one author of the letter

PHOTO COURTESY OF CHOP BAR

EMPTY SEATS: Chop Bar-owner Chris Pastena was one author of the letter

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Oakland Restaurateurs Seek Pandemic Support

More than 150 stakeholders sign proposal seeking protection from eviction, liability and more

By S. Rufus
Wed, Jun 3, 2020 at 8:56 AM

A group of Oakland restaurant owners has composed and sent a letter containing a "Retail Recovery Proposal" to the City of Oakland, expressing their collective urgency around saving their businesses while reopening safely and protecting their workers while moving "back into what is hopefully a new and improved 'normal.'"

"Something has to be done immediately to avoid the certainty of mass restaurant closures," reads the letter, signed thus far by more than 150 Oakland-based small-business owners, workers and stakeholders and originally co-authored by Miles Palliser, owner of the Athletic Club Oakland; Chris Pastena, owner of Chop Bar, Tribune Tavern and Calavera (depicted above); Jake Freed, owner of Shiba Ramen; Derreck Johnson, owner of Home of Chicken and Waffles; Melissa Axelrod, owner of Mockingbird; and Romney Steele, owner of The Cook and Her Farmer.

"Small retail businesses, and the restaurant industry more specifically, were already suffering and in need of support prior to this crisis," the letter reads. "These businesses are particularly vulnerable now due to Covid-19. ...

"Restaurants, bars, cafes and nightlife venues are a crucial part of the fabric of any city, particularly Oakland. ... We are in a period of social distancing, but we will again be in a place where social gathering is part of daily life. We need to make sure our public spaces are still standing and positioned to thrive.

"Restaurants are also the driver of a much larger economic ecosystem. Along with thousands of jobs for hospitality workers, we also support vendors, farmers, delivery drivers, cleaners, tradespeople and more. ...

"One thing that is critical for everyone to realize is that 'allowing' restaurants to reopen does not necessarily save restaurants or improve the economy. It does not mean that the public will come out or that we will have jobs for many people to come back to."

Among other requests, the letter asks for eviction protections, increased Covid-19 testing, a Covid-19 improvements fund to finance pandemic-mandated changes and protection "from unfair and unnecessary legal action."

The letter also requests liability protection, given that restaurateurs "could face action from a customer who states that they contracted Covid-19 while on our premises. Our insurance policies do not cover us if a customer sues us claiming this happened."

Other signers of the letter include Cortt Dunlap (Awaken Café); Mayra Velazquez (Xingones); William Tsui (Viridian); Matt Kreutz (Firebrand Artisan Bread); Blake Joffe (Beauty's Bagel Shop); May Seto Wasem (Grand Lake Kitchen); Austin Cheung (Marica); Akara Sutraromluck (Pintoh Thai); Amy Hillyard (Farley's Coffee); Susanne Breen (Downtown Wine Merchants) and many more.

Fremont Water Company Donates to Aid Group

Fremont-based bottled-water brand Pathwater has just debuted a limited-edition aluminum bottle celebrating American heroes—and is donating a percentage of the sale price of each such bottle to Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization providing medical aid and supplies to Covid-19-affected communities nationwide.

Adorned with a boldly red, white and blue design incorporating the American flag and bald eagle, the brand-new bottle celebrates Pathwater's commitment to maintaining all of its processes—from manufacturing to marketing—within the continental United States.

Pathwater is also committed to sustainable practices: After just four refills, its bottles become carbon-neutral. Being made and sold within the USA also raises the bottles' sustainability factor.

"Especially now during these unprecedented times, we're committed to supporting our country, community and the environment with the launch of our new Made In USA bottle," Pathwater co-founder and CEO Shadi Bakour said in a press release.

Released this week amidst shelter-in-place-flavored Memorial Day celebrations, the limited-edition bottles are sold at stores nationwide or on Pathwater's website.

Determined to provide an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic bottles, Pathwater was the first-ever water brand packaged in 100 percent reusable and recyclable aluminum bottles.

The five-year-old Fremont company—whose investors and active brand stewards include celebrity chef Guy Fieri and former San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, and which was introduced at San Francisco International Airport as part of the SFO Zero-Waste Concessions Program—offers three types of purified water. Pathwater Still is filled with water that is ultra-purified through a seven-step reverse-osmosis process and enhanced with electrolytes for a pH-balanced beverage. Pathwater Sparkling is delicately carbonated, and Pathwater Alkaline contains specialty electrolytes with a final pH of 9.5+.

Direct Relief, the organization benefiting from the sales of Pathwater's new red-white-and-blue bottles, equips medical staff with life-saving resources—including money, medicine and supplies—in eighty different countries and all fifty states.

"We are so excited to be partnering with Direct Relief to help raise money to provide much-needed medical supplies and resources to frontline workers and communities nationwide," said Pathwater co-founder and CMO Ali Orabi.

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