Editor: As a local, small, family business, Menchie’s is in need of common sense from the governor and the Contra Costa County Environmental Health Agency. As we reopen, the local health order is republished with minor changes in capacity or adding “high risk” businesses to the reopening plan.

One clause remains the same, no matter what the color of the tier: control measures - risk assessment and the measures that will be taken to prevent the spread of the virus, specific to your business or operation (e.g., floor markings, signage, no customer self-serve, other social distancing measures, etc.), health screening of customers and employees, employees not coming to work if sick, regular disinfection of contact surfaces, etc.

Not all self-service is equal.  Businesses based on self-service seem to have fallen under the radar in the reopening plan. Menchie’s is a self-serve frozen yogurt franchise business. Self-service is essential to our business. Full service is becoming impossible as the county opens up. The lines are long, guests are very impatient...they want their lives back. People are pissed that I am following the rules.

I am proposing a supervised process where guests sanitize their hands, wear gloves (with the mandatory masks), maintain 6 feet of space and serve themselves. Menchie’s has a one-way traffic pattern; we can direct guests, letting family groups through together. We can’t be lumped in with salad bars, buffets or bulk bins at a supermarket. All of those are unsupervised and can be substituted with full service with little financial impact. We are in the orange tier with 50% occupancy, yet we are still doing one-third of our usual business. This is not survivable. We survived the COVID shutdowns only to be going out of business as the country reopens.

We all use unsanitized, self-service gas stations on a regular basis. No one is cleaning the pump handle/keypad after each use. It’s “essential” so it’s ok to go unsanitized and unsupervised, yet Menchie’s remains in a full/terrible service mode? People see these inequities and are frustrated.  As a human being and business owner, so am I.

On behalf of my two woman owned-stores and the 89 other California Menchie’s owners, I am asking Governor Newsom and the environmental health organizations to examine their sweeping declarations, clarify and modify them and allow us self-service under a modified, supervised plan.

Susan Hoster

Menchie’s, Sand Creek Crossing

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