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Gov't Intervention: Could NYC Follow in SF's Footsteps?

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For all the restaurateurs and libertarians upset about the mandatory calorie postings in NYC chain restaurants, just be happy you aren't doing business in San Francisco. Same goes for you folks battling with the community boards. Due to a record high minimum wage, a mandatory 9 day sick leave for all employees, and the requirement to offer every worker health care, restaurants have begun adding 'Health Care' fees to their diners' checks. Eater SF has been covering the whole story— including the SF Restaurant Association's lawsuit against the city—but the Times ran a piece over the weekend that describes the degree to which San Francisco's Board of Supervisors have intervened in everyday life. To some, the city is setting examples for the rest of the country to follow, but for others these rules are anathema to healthy business. A breakdown of the most controversial laws and proposals:

· Business owners must offer health care, typically a rarity in the restaurant industry except for managers, to all employees.
· Employers must offer 9 days sick leave to all employees.
· Chain restaurants must post nutritional information for all menu items.
· Minimum wage is $9.36 and will increase next year.
· Plastic bags are banned from supermarkets, Styrofoam containers banned at all "food outlets".
· The Board wants to fine stores and restaurants that sell items with high fructose corn syrup.
· The Board proposed to require permits and insurance for events including weddings, parties, and benefits.
· The Board proposed to fine office buildings that leave their lights on overnight.
· The Board proposed to make all lobbyists wear name tags when doing business.

The Times piece mentions how restaurateurs and store owners are dealing with the laws:

"At Delfina, a popular restaurant in the nightlife-rich Mission District, diners receive a card with every meal that states that while owners are happy to offer their employees health care, their bills will include a $1.25 surcharge to cover the cost. 'We must consider options that allow us to cover these costs which far exceed our current health care expenditures,' the card reads. Other restaurants have followed suit, including the well-known Zuni Cafe, which now adds a 4 percent fee to all bills. Still others have tried to pare costs, cutting back on trips to the butcher and outsourcing food preparation."
We're a long way from universal health care, but it wouldn't be entirely surprising if NYC followed suit with some of the other proposals.
· A Board Rules, and Businesses Balk [NYT]
· All Eater SF Health Care Coverage [~ESF~]

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