New California law requires restaurant workers to wear gloves


Workers are required to wear disposable gloves or use utensils while handling certain foods.

At Lefty O' Douls in San Francisco, the bartenders have already started wearing the required latex gloves.

Bartender Frank Alavi is not very happy about it.

"Safest for the operating room, for babies being delivered, but not the bar," Alavi said.

The new law took effect January 1. It's intended to protect customers from foodborne illnesses.

Some chains like Subway already use gloves in their food handling.

But the new law will include chefs and even bartenders.

"A little insulting almost, being a professional and having done this for a long time, I feel like people in my industry and especially at this caliber of restaurant, we definitely maintain our cleanliness standards," bartender Katy Anderson said.

Anderson pours dozens of drinks in just a few minutes at the East End Pizza Co. in Alameda.

The co-owner of the restaurant, Michelle Manousos, has signed an online petition to try and exempt bartenders from the new regulation.

One of her customers is a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland.

She says gloves are meant to protect health workers, not to prevent the spread of disease among patients.

"Gloves never substitute for good hand hygiene, washing your hands, or using a hand sanitizer. And I'd be really interested to see what studies they have that are linking the wearing of gloves with spreading disease in food handling situations," nurse Melissa Michaud said.

Businesses can try to get an exemption. It involves working out strict protocols with local agencies that will enforce the law.

For now, citations are not likely to be issued, regulators are granting a 6-month grace period to get familiar with the new rules.

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