A&E

No love for glove law

Local bartenders give thumbs-down to new regulation requiring gloves

Countless people flock to local bars looking to unwind with a beer or other alcoholic drink. But there's a new regular at the watering holes that won't get a warm welcome — protective gloves for the bartenders.

"Is there a rhyme or reason behind it?" asked Tim Crawford, manager of Francesca's Sports Bar in Mountain View. "I don't think so. I think you're going to cause more problems with the gloves than you are with just your bare hands."

Crawford is responding to an amendment to a California retail food-safety law that makes gloves at the bar a requirement. The law's change, which took effect Jan. 1, bans restaurant workers from handling ready-to-eat food with their bare hands. For bartenders, that means wearing gloves for something as simple as dropping an olive into a martini.

Crawford has been tending bar for eight years and his sentiments reflect the collective voice of local bartenders.

"Honestly, I think it'll be just a big nuisance," said Sam Bonales, a bartender at Scratch in downtown Mountain View. "It's going to take the fun out of it," for both the bartender and the customers.

Sara Hernandez at pan-Latin restaurant Cascal across the street agrees.

"(People) want their drinks and to be able to interact with the bartender, not, 'Hold up, wait. I have to go put my gloves on,'" she said.

"Make the drinks, get it out and get other people to order stuff," Hernandez said of the typical bar scene. "It's a rotating door."

Though Cascal's restaurant environment is less fast-paced, timeliness with service is an ever-present concern for any bartender. For customers, if bartenders must wear gloves, it could easily lengthen the time it takes to get a drink.

Virginia McVeigh, who works as a bartender at downtown Palo Alto's Greek standout Evvia, doesn't just knock the law. She has a suggestion for reform: Instead of a flat-out requirement to wear gloves, gloves could be worn during any kind of preparation. This is a practice she's minded since she got her start as a bartender more than 10 years ago.

"I believe that gloves should be worn during the preparation of the garnishes and any kind of preparation," she said, noting that the use of gloves during service times "diminishes the level of service and class."

"When (customers) come here, they don't want to see a bartender wearing gloves," McVeigh said. "It also kind of makes us look like we're an assembly line producing simpler drinks," a characteristic far from the selection of wine and spirits offered at higher-end Evvia.

Hernandez suggests a more practical option: Focus on the actual practices of bartenders as opposed to making them wear gloves.

"If there was more attention to cleaning your hands, that would be better than wearing gloves," she said noting that cleanliness is already an industry standard.

She also mentioned that she knows of some locations that make use of tongs or other utensils instead of their hands. Crawford dismisses this option for the same reason as the gloves: timeliness and ease.

"It'll take much longer to stick a pick in an olive with a spoon than with my hands," he said.

"Our hands are always in water, always wet, always clean," Crawford said. "(Gloves) are going to retain any residual of anything and I think it'll to be worse actually. I think what they need to do is go through and look at that and measure the amount of bacteria on your hands at the end of the day and the amount of crap that's on your gloves. I think you're going to transfer more with gloves than with your hands."

Such concerns don't even take into account the difficulty bartenders would face if they "flair." Flair bartending is the practice of entertaining guests using bar tools and liquor bottles in tricky, juggler-like ways.

Hernandez got her start in bartending at restaurant chain TGI Fridays, the home of flair, she said. If she had had to wear gloves then, it would have ruined the show.

"It would be so hard to flair," she said. "You just wouldn't be able to do it. It would be like a show and then they make your drinks, instead of a show while making your drinks."

"The experience is completely lost at that moment," said Angela Fragomeni, a 12-year veteran who works at The Patio in downtown Palo Alto. "Flair bartending will go out the window. It'll be strictly for show."

Fragomeni mentioned another concern with instituting gloves for bartenders.

"Really and truly, it's bad for the environment," she said. "Think of how many bartenders are out there. Think of how many times we're going to have to change our gloves a day."

But bartenders across the state aren't going down without a fight: They've amassed more than 17,000 signatures in online petitions. On Feb. 24, California State Assemblyman Richard Pan, whose committee authored the original law, responded by introducing "emergency legislation" that would lead to the glove law's repeal. The repeal is on track to be approved before the June 30 deadline to comply with the law — a result that should draw cheers from local bartenders and drinkers alike.

Comments

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2014 at 10:12 am

I can imagine the pile of gloves that are going to be sold, and now have to be disposed of.
What problem is this is supposed to solve?


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 15, 2014 at 11:38 am

It helps liberal do-gooders feel better about themselves. If it saves one child in California, it is worth it.


Posted by Juan, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 15, 2014 at 11:50 am

Rights? We don't need no stink'in rights.


Posted by juan, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 15, 2014 at 11:56 am

Good point CrescentParkAnon. So this generation worry about a cigarette butt left on the beach not made of plastic, is 99% smaller than any glove. And gloves will fill the landfill for the next 100 years.
Mama Mia. These people


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Mr.Recycle - I doubt this has anything to do with Liberal do-gooders, more than likely it has to do with growing the market for rubber gloves and making money - crookedly. Being a Liberal, and a do-gooder as much as possible, I really resent your never-ending posts that always have to take a swipe at Liberals, whom you clearly know nothing about and don't do any research on as regards whatever story you happen to be barfing on at the moment.

The editors here seem to let you get away this, and you constantly do it. Can we please delete any post that takes an unwarranted and insulting tone for no reason against some group other than the poster's own ignorance and rudeness ?


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Crescent Park Anon -- Thank you for your post. I'm proud to hold Liberal values.

These constant nonsensical attacks on Liberals are an absurd throwback to Joseph McCarthyism -- Very unAmerican to say the least.


Posted by Sushi Lover, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Doubt this is a liberal thing; agree it's a big business thing.

Seems like a difficult law to enforce. I would guess it's difficult to wear gloves while rolling sushi. They are working to reverse the law:

"However, less than two months after the law was enacted, Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento proposed on Monday an emergency legislation, AB 2130 (a.k.a. Retail Food Safety law), that would change the language of the law and reverse it. Pan told KPCC that the original food glove law "was not turning out the way that those of us who helped work on the legislation thought" it would.

If passed, the legislation would go into effect before July 1, and would change the state health code from prohibiting bare hands to touch the food to "minimizing" contact, reported the Sacramento Business Journal and KPCC."

Web Link


Posted by Katie, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

When are the loons out there going to roost! Stupid idea!


Posted by Hildie of Bingen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2014 at 5:12 pm

This is just another way for the state to hassle bar owners. Blame the people who drink too much and drive for this one. The state has been gunning for bar owners for eons.

Look at how many Palo Alto restaurants are actually tiny little restaurants with huge bars--it's their way of getting around the laws regarding no bars in Palo Alto.

California bar owners simply have to get around this one way or another....it is a petty and stoopid little law!


Posted by Ducat hutch, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 15, 2014 at 5:45 pm

"Look at how many Palo Alto restaurants are actually tiny little restaurants with huge bars--it's their way of getting around the laws regarding no bars in Palo Alto."
Which Palo Alto restaurants have huge bars and small eating areas. Please provide a list to back up your claim.
Also provide a link for the law that bars are banned in Palo Alto. And please explain how Antonio's nut house and Scotty's bar ( for example) are open for business?????


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Having got a c diff infection after dining at a local restaurant, I totally support the glove law.

Also -- I have NEVER seen a bartender wash their hands before making a drink. And I have actually seen waitstaff in the Ladies Room who have not washed their hands after using the toilet.

Bring on the gloves.


Posted by Ducat hutch, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 15, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Neighbor- not sure what a"c diff" infection is, but how do you know y.ou got it from a local restaurant? Anyway, the law is DOA and is about to be repealed. Bartenders will also not wash their hands between each drink they prepare.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2014 at 9:46 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by Health care worker, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 16, 2014 at 10:29 am

Regarding c. Diff:
Web Link
"Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long-term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications."

You probably had something else. But tell us how you knew it was C. Diff and how you know it came from the restaurant


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 16, 2014 at 11:58 am

Your government in action. What, did the glove manufacturers lobby our representatives and lavish $$$ to get this law passed?
Also, for those who loves gloves...I heard they take their dirty hands and use them to put the gloves on, thereby contaminating the gloves.
It is true money is dirty; why can't a food or bar establishment have one person designated to handle all the money.
There will be zillions of these gloves in our landfill soon.


Posted by Juan olive, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm

About the Liberal comment. Mr. Recycle's point may have merit if the ones voting this and over crazy ideas are in fact liberals. Case solved.


Posted by Dmitri, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Antonio's Nuthouse has a taco/burrito business inside. Scotty' s has a few tables for food. Remember left at Albuqurque? Blue Chalk Cafe? NoLa's? Lavande? The Patio? All have/had itty bitty restaurantsand large, noisy bars. Miyake gave a new definition to "sushi bar".

Why hassle people, neighbor?


Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Got to wonder if there is any evidence that people are getting sick from food prepared by bartenders--such as from olives or cherries dropped into drinks?

If not--what's the beef?

Got to wonder if someone on high is not going to recognize that bartenders are breathing within twenty-four inches of the drinks they are preparing. So maybe it's time to require them to wear a mask in order to reduce the possibility of the transfer of any number of contagious diseases.

Maybe it's time to replace the bar tenders with machines that read credit cards, dispensing mixed drinks without any human contact?

Getting a drink and not having to tip would be nice.


Posted by outside observer, a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

"Maybe it's time to replace the bar tenders with machines that read credit cards, dispensing mixed drinks without any human contact?

Getting a drink and not having to tip would be nice."

You're on to something here. There are machines that can cook and serve fast food now. Hopefully this will be next ;)


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 16, 2014 at 10:06 pm

@CrescentParkAnon - The state is run, top to bottom, by liberals. At best they run a nanny state, at worst, they are corrupt and on the rubber glove payroll. Take your pick.


Posted by Neighbor, a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2014 at 10:09 am

Stop this irrational and uneducated "liberal" attacks. They are total nonsense and seem quite totalitarian. Basically, derogatory use of the term reeks of Joseph McCarthy.

I am proud to be a liberal.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2014 at 10:53 am

> Liberals ..

Liberals are people who believe they know what is better for other people than other do for themselves .. they have a propensity to want to control other peoples' lives—like ordering them to stop using the word "Liberals".

> reeks of McCarthyism

During Joe McCarthy's like time, the "Communism", a cancer on the human race, grew in strength so that it controlled the lives, and fortunes, of about 25% of the world's population. It's stated goal was worldwide domination. By the 1970s, about 100M had been killed, or died because of, "Communism".

Sen. McCarthy did not want to see that happen here. Perhaps the Senator crossed a couple of lines trying to root out Communists from places like Hollywood—but compared to the millions the Communists killed forcing their system of total control on the peoples of Russia (FSU), Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam and North Korea—the Senator's methods seem almost church-like in retrospect.


Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2014 at 11:06 am

Well, the gloves have definitely come off for this discussion :) :) :) .


Posted by Wendy, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 17, 2014 at 11:42 am

Having worked in resturants in my past, the best way to keep things clean is to only work with food, frequently wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face, wash hands after the rest room (a "should be" no-brainer)don't go near the dishwashing area without washing hands afterward and don't cough on anything. All these things should be taught in culinary school and/or be taught to the staff daily by the chef or the manager of the restaurant. In some states staff have to take and pass a food handling class before they are allowed to go to work in a kitchen or a dining room. I recall a study being done where bare hands and gloved hands were tested for contamination. In some cases the gloved hands were worse. They don't get changed every time you touch something other than food (taking money at a cash register for example) and they hold on to "stuff" just or more than a bare hand - there are microscopic pores in the glove that gather and hang on to food bits and germs. Maybe wearing gloves and washing your hands with gloves on every 30 seconds might make things sanitary? I doubt it. Basic safe food handling and training is what makes the most difference. When you cook and eat at home are you wearing gloves or washing your hands all the time after handling things? Go ahead, cough and wipe your nose and then go make that salad!


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Wendy says "Go ahead, cough and wipe your nose and then go make that salad!" She can do that with her salad at home, but not with my salad at a restaurant.


Posted by Palo Altan, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I am really amazed at the low quality of interactions posted in this Time Square Post. It is hard to believe that the writers are educated adults living in our very cultural city of Palo Alto. Every time I open this, I know I will find bickering and sarcasm. No matter what the topic is. Its getting tirening.


Posted by Wendy, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Dear Neighbor -

I was facetiously refering to cooking at home. I guess that was a bit hard to understand. The whole paragraph above that facetious comment about cooking at home (perhaps you wear gloves when making your salads at home) was about training, good restaurant standards and how thorough the guidence is by chefs and managers. Because truth be told, dirty hands and dirty gloves are the same thing. Dirty gloves do not prevent anything more from being transmitted than dirty hands. As I stated, gloved hands may look like things are cleaner but in fact, if the gloves are allowed to get dirty with lack of good food handling practices, they are no cleaner and may be worse and dirtier. Gloves can give everyone a false sense of cleanlines if not used properly. It is actually easier to keep one's bare hands cleaner. Hope that clears up my facetious statement.


Posted by juan olive, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm

No such word as Palo Atltan or Mountain Viewen or Sacramentoen.
And
What is "Tirening"?


Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2014 at 11:20 am

We have bars here? I thought it was all chain restaurants and places where you can exchange a 20 for 3 ounces of wine. Where are there bars? I want to go there.


Posted by Franz Ferdinand, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm

This glove thing has soooooo much opposition to it as well as voluntary non-compliance, thatI cannot imagine that it will not be repealed fairly soon.

It is simply impractical, expensive, and causes one more non-biodegradable waste problem.


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