Employees gear up for no-mask customers / ESPN features former supervisor

It's Monday, June 14.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

Tomorrow, the city opens up. Finally! 

No more yellow or orange tiers. Just some guidance on where masks are still required for residents (like, on public transit). But for the most part, businesses will be able to operate at full capacity (indoor and out), while patrons don’t need to stay six feet apart or wear a face covering. 

Exciting. And maybe a little bit scary. As Mayor Breed said last week, “It’s going to be a big change.” 

On Monday, as I stopped by some local coffee shops (who graciously let me hang SF Minute posters in their windows), I asked employees how they were feeling about tomorrow’s reopening plans. 

“We’re excited to see people’s full faces,” Kellie McCord, owner of the Visitacion Valley coffee and gift shop Mission Blue, told me. “So many people have come to Mission Blue who we never met before Covid.” 

McCord said Mission Blue will let customers decide if they want to wear their masks indoors, while she and her staff will continue covering up, “as we ease into this, just to make everyone feel safe.” 

As the policy stands today, all workers at a given business would need to be fully vaccinated before any employees could decide to go without a mask in the workplace. On Monday, though, Governor Gavin Newsom said he plans to sign an executive order later this week that would align workplace policy with the state’s reopening rules. Meaning, if you’re fully vaccinated, you can decide for yourself whether or not to wear a mask at work.  

Julia Lin, a barista at Mission Blue, said she thinks about “the mask situation” for food and service workers similar to that of hairnets and gloves. “It’s an extra precaution,” Lin said. “It’s more like, our responsibility as service providers to the public...We want to make sure everyone is safe and healthy.” 

At Tallio’s Coffee in the Bayview, operations manager Tyler Mendoza said she hopes fewer restrictions will mean more in-store foot traffic. “I feel like people were somewhat wary of coming into businesses,” she said. “But the tone is changing, and I think that’ll help out a lot.” 

Starting Tuesday, employees at Tallio’s (since all have been vaccinated) will have the choice of whether or not to mask up. Mendoza said she will likely go maskless mostly for temperature reasons. 

“It’s just really hot,” Mendoza said, noting that the Bayview gets more sun than most areas in the city. “When you’re making coffee and running around the shop, it's just really hot.” 

As for Tallio’s customers, they too will have the option come Tuesday. Some are already anxious. 

“We’ve had some regular customers ask if it’s okay to take off their masks...They feel comfortable since a lot of the neighborhood is vaccinated,” Mendoza said. “I think everyone in the community is ready.” 

And with that… onto some more news… 

Quick bits: 

  • 🏚 A permanent supportive housing building on 7th and Market Street (formerly, the National Hotel) caught fire on Sunday evening, displacing 80 formerly homeless residents. The Red Cross said it was coordinating support for the residents. One person was reportedly injured. (SFist

  • 📉 While housing prices increased by 13.2% across the Bay Area from January 2020 to April 2021, several neighborhoods in San Francisco saw declines, including the Tenderloin (-11.8%), Cow Hollow (-11.5%), and SoMa (-10.4%). (Chronicle

  • 🎆 Fourth of July fireworks will be back in San Francisco this year, Mayor Breed said on Friday. Details (and weather reports!) still TBD. (Twitter

And finally… 

In March, former San Francisco Supervisor and State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano finally received his varsity track letter some 60 years after his high school graduation. Ammiano, an LGBT rights activist, was denied the accolade at the time, “for odd reasons that he chalked up to his being effeminate and different,” the SFist wrote

On Sunday, ESPN aired a short, 7-minute documentary on Ammiano’s experience, entitled “Nowhere to Run.” You can watch it here

“Telling the people it didn’t happen, and then trying to figure out why, I wasn’t going to tell them. ‘It’s because I’m a fag, and they think I’m a fag.’ I couldn’t bring myself to do that,” Ammiano told ESPN. “Those things still hurt, even a hundred years later.”

That's all for today! One quick note before we go. I'm going to be on vacation this Thursday and Friday, so no newsletters on those days. I'll be back on Monday, 6/21.

Maybe TMI, but my wife and I are expecting a baby in September! So this is a chance to get away for a bit before then. Don't call it a Babymoon, though. I swore I'd call never call it that!

Alright, have a great night y'all, and I'll see ya tomorrow (masks on or off).

-Nick B.

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