Health Department checking on restaurants for compliance

Posted at 2:52 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 15:52:33-04

To ensure the safety of patrons and the safety of restaurant staff members, the Health Department is checking for compliance and investigating those who don't.

The county says health inspectors have been investigating complaints related to the coronavirus since restaurants reopened.

“Complaints are still a top priority for us to take care of. And now that we have had a little bit of extra help coming into the Health Department, we are able to send our health inspectors back out to really start this social distancing set and mask order, walkthrough with the business owners to make sure they are following those procedures,” said Richter.

Jennifer Richter, Program Manager of Environmental Consumer Health Services wants the public to know that health inspectors are still showing up every day to do inspections and write citations if needed.

“If I have a place that is being completely irresponsible and not working with us, that is something we can consider because we have the ability to do enforcement. Like I said, our first key thing is make sure they are educated properly and know the right things to do, and we will work with them as much as we can,” said Richter.

Joseph Hoskins, the owner of Sonny's Barbacoa, is happy to hear health inspectors are keeping an eye on restaurants.

“If they continue to wear a mask when they come through, and do the guidelines on what needs to be done, I think we will be okay. Everybody's got to be able to get on board with the plan to do it,” said Hoskins.

For many area restaurants, following the health code guidelines is even more important during this time.

“If we go through another shutdown like that, it is going to hurt us really bad,” said Hoskins.

“Restaurants are on the cusp of not being able to make it because of the loss of business so we want to do everything we can to protect the people who come enjoy a meal out and to protect our staff. So we are doing everything we can to avoid a shutdown. We think we can stay open, being smart, being safe, and going about this in the right way,” said President of the Restaurant Association Kathryn Snapka.

Health inspectors are making sure businesses follow CDC protocol, ensuring that customers practice social distancing, limit the number of people inside a restaurant at one time, and making sure no one at work is sick.