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April 11, 2021

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Restaurant inspections in Clark County will be primarily virtual, unscored for now

Public Health’s food safety team will not provide inspection scores to public for time being

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Clark County Public Health’s food safety team will be operating in a different manner for the foreseeable future.

Instead of conducting unannounced, in-person and scored food inspections, the food safety team will do a mixture of in-person and virtual assessments. Those assessments will be scheduled in advance and not scored.

Clark County Public Health Food Safety Manager Brigette Bashaw said the changes are related to the COVID-19 pandemic and are focused on minimizing in-person contact as well as alleviating the stress and pressure that food establishments feel as indoor dining capacity restrictions decrease and more people are returning to dining out.

Bashaw said showing up unannounced, as an extra body in a kitchen that has spacing and capacity restrictions, didn’t seem like the best idea for the current COVID-19 climate.

“We are trying to reduce the amount of stress they’re experiencing right now,” Bashaw said.

While the changes might make you worried that food establishments can disregard safety rules, Bashaw said that won’t be the case.

Most assessments will be done virtually, but some will still be 15-minute in-person visits. Bashaw said her team will still keep track of anything that needs correcting and Public Health will hold food establishments accountable to necessary changes.

The food safety team can still make multiple visits to food establishments that need checking in on.

The only difference is there won’t be restaurant inspection scores made available to the public for an indefinite period of time.

“We feel like we are still protecting consumers from foodborne illness,” Bashaw said.

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