Bartenders and chefs hope that the gloves can come off in California under a bill that sailed through the California legislature this week.
The state approved a ban on bare-hand food contact in March, but a swell of pressure from the restaurant industry quickly prompted lawmakers to reconsider. The state Senate voted 32-0 to repeal the law on Thursday.
State health workers would have begun enforcing the law July 1. Instead, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has said he could sign off on the appeal as early as this weekend.
Restaurant owners – from bars to sushi joints – have criticized the law as costly and unneeded. One upscale bar in San Francisco bar said it would require 175 pairs of gloves per shift, its manager said.
The legislator leading the repeal effort, Democratic Assemblyman Richard Pan, was also the one to pitch the bill. He said it was an attempt to keep away food-borne illnesses, many of which can be traced to restaurant kitchens.
Forty-one states have also banned bare-hand contact in restaurants.