California

‘Welcome to SF.’ Menu mocks city for banning straws but giving away needles

A used syringe is shown on a sidewalk in San Francisco in May. A downtown restaurant is tweaking the city over a policy that hands out millions of syringes a year to drug users and an upcoming ban on plastic straws in restaurants.
A used syringe is shown on a sidewalk in San Francisco in May. A downtown restaurant is tweaking the city over a policy that hands out millions of syringes a year to drug users and an upcoming ban on plastic straws in restaurants. Associated Press file

A downtown San Francisco sandwich shop is poking fun at the city over an upcoming ban on plastic straws and a free needle program that has irked some residents, reported SF Eater.

The site reports that some menus at The Sentinel restaurant on New Montgomery Street include this notation: “Napkins, straws, and bags are available upon request. You can still get needles for free though. Welcome to SF.”

Part of the barb refers to city policies banning plastic straws and requiring restaurants to make napkins and condiment bags available only on request, which take effect July 1, 2019, reported The San Francisco Chronicle.

The other part refers to a city health department program providing clean syringes to drug users, reported Fox News. The effort seeks to curb diseases spread by sharing needles.

Under that program, implemented in 1993, San Francisco distributes an estimated 4.45 million syringes each year, reported Curbed.

Needles littering city streets are a source of complaints by many San Francisco residents, reported the Chronicle.

Newly elected Mayor London Breed defended both policies Wednesday when asked about the Sentinel’s menus, reported KPIX.

“I totally understand that but these are different issues,” Breed told the station. “San Francisco has been an environmental leader. The goal is to not just think about what’s happening now but think about what’s happening in the future … As it relates to needles I know people are frustrated. People suffer from drug addiction and sadly, just because we don’t like it or we don’t want to see it, it doesn’t mean it will disappear.”

The restaurant owner, identified by SF Eater as Dennis Leary, told KPIX he did not intend to spark a controversy and hasn’t decided whether future menus will include the barb.

More than 50 people joined a flash mob at Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to urge people to stop using plastic straws, which hurts marine life. They changed the lyrics from Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" song to "Skip the Straw."

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