coronavirus pandemic

Contra Costa County Cracks Down on Restaurants Defying COVID Protocols

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Contra Costa County is cracking down on restaurants that are dragging their feet when it comes to asking indoor diners for their vaccine card or requiring employees to wear a mask.

The county slapped several restaurants with fines and when that wasn’t enough to get two restaurants to comply, the county immediately suspended their restaurants’ permits.

Sylvia’s County Kitchen in Antioch wants to be known as the place to go for southern cooking, but Contra Costa County health inspectors know the restaurant as one of the establishments that they’ve had to visit more than once and remind the owner of the county’s vaccine mandate.

“I told them I said I’m not going to force anybody to do something they don’t want to do. You want to show me your vaccinated, show me it. You don’t want to show it, I’m not going to force you to do it,” said Paula Burchard, owner of Sylvia’s Country Kitchen.

But after county health inspector visited on Wednesday to warn owner Burchard, if she didn’t follow the county’s vaccine mandate, which includes asking indoor diners for proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test, the restaurant would face a stack of hefty fines.

“So, we’re going to try it,” she said. “I’ve already had to turn away customers which is money, bottom line dollar, we need every person that comes to the door.”

Contra Costa County Health Services shared a list of restaurants that are on their naughty list – some got a warning. When that wasn’t enough, some received a fine.

Another restaurant, Lumpy’s in Antioch received more than a thousand dollars in fines and had their health permit suspended.

The county said Lumpy’s ultimately had to temporarily shut down temporarily until the restaurant submitted a plan of how they were going to now follow the vaccine mandate.

“This is a no-brainer. When I said the time for education is over, my belief is that these particular establishments were deliberately not following the rules,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

NBC Bay Area’s Melissa Colorado popped into Lumpy’s and noticed waiters and kitchen staff wearing masks.

A sign past the front door asked diners to check in their vaccination status before being seated.

“if you come in correctly, they shouldn’t have to ask you, I personally believe that,” said Drummond Threat of Anticoh

Back at Sylvia’s Country Kitchen, Paula Burchard wonders how long she can take the financial hit of saying no to some patrons.

“I already told the health department, I’m not playing the game no more, you guys keep doing this, I’ll shut down and walk away,” she said.

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