For the kitchen-less, restaurants remained open
It is impossible to know if restaurants will reopen without knowing why they opened, why they stayed open during the 1918 flu pandemic, why they exist at all.
Our world is round and so is time more of a circle than a straight line. If that’s true, by November we’re due for a roaring ‘20s, followed by a great depression. But we don’t have quite the same limitations we did in 1918. To warn the public that it needed to avoid gathering, they first needed to gather; in fact, public spaces served as prime resources for New York City’s Health Commissioner at the time, Dr. Royal S. …
What does it mean to be competitive when you create customers who can’t be satisfied and workers who are invisible?
The thing that disturbed me most about Jeff Bezos’ statement before Congress last week is not what might have disturbed most, but as a sales person (I work in food distribution), it’s very telling. It’s not surprising, but I wonder how it landed, not among Congress, but among the market that allows Amazon to exist, its customers and employees.
“I founded Amazon 26 years ago with the long-term mission of making it Earth’s most customer-centric company.”
Nothing in this statement stands out as odd until you realize that it created a company that is the opposite of worker-centric. It’s not even worker-adjacent. …
In fetishizing the heat of the kitchen, the circus continues to sell bread
If a restaurant can afford to hire a PR company, does it need the press? Maybe only in the state of competition that is New York City or Los Angeles. Is the restaurant, then, any more deserving of attention than one that can’t afford representation, or one that chooses to spend money on PR rather than fix the fan in their walk-in?
These are things we, as journalists, should be asking ourselves. Journalists do not exist to collect low-hanging leads. We are here to uncover the very ones that are hard to access, that the general public might otherwise fail to see. So while I am thankful for writers who are sharing their struggles with access — for reasons that include such things as language barriers — I’m just not interested in hearing this as a reason to continue to rely on sources that come easy. It is our job to earn the trust of the sources we need to hear from, not stroke the squeaky wheels that already have grease. …
The only things deterred are tax and good will
“A tax is a levy collected for general government services. A fee is levy collected to provide a service that benefits the group of people from which the money is collected. A penalty is a levy collected with the express aim of deterring some kind of undesirable behavior.” — William Rinehart
M y mother is an accountant. She likes to count money. Her father was an accountant. He liked to count money, too. Those who like to count money are generally able to find ways not to lose it. I was never one for counting until the Department of Health scared away my dinner; until a nation would rather send children to war with a virus than do everything it can to protect them; until a cop, during a peaceful protest against police brutality, during a pandemic, removed a young man’s mask in order to pepper spray him more efficiently. …
The power of prevention, if only we bought it
Too often it is only in times like this that health departments receive the funding they actually need. In so many ways, NYC’s 2020–2021 budget has not met this moment. While the city covers 92% of the NYPD’s close to $6 billion executive budget (not counting its total $11 billion budget, which includes officer pensions), it only covers 51% of the DOHMH’s $1.6 billion.
In the mid-1960s, under president Johnson’s Great Society, the nation shifted resources from prevention to treatment. This made way for a bustling private health sector — for those who could afford it, by the time Reagan stepped in and shrunk public agencies. It also gave a false sense of security that we could tackle any public health crisis, that prevention of an invisible threat was a waste of money. As we’re reminded not often enough, this couldn’t be further from the truth. …
In the absence of guidelines, restaurants are left to write their own
A person without a mask is an egg without a shell. This will mean something to cooks who spend their days saving us from bad eggs. We, the people, are an unpasteurized yolk. One crack of a mask, a drop to the chin, and microbes are free. Vapors float out like fireflies, invisible only most of the time, as they flicker on to their next host.
I, like many critics stated this week, have not dined out at a restaurant since mid-March, and I don’t plan to until we are reopening them because it is safe to — not because, for those in the industry, we believe we have no other choice; or for patrons, who miss the way things were. Preventative actions don’t need to feel awkward. …