Health inspectors nationwide are grappling with restaurant reopenings and new responsibilities such as the use of PPE and maintaining social distancing measures that come with jurisdictions loosening stay-at-home orders.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) conducted an anonymous survey of local health departments which found that many had reduced operations of food safety programs and some even shut down the programs entirely reassigning inspection staff to meet coronavirus response needs.
Route Fifty reports on that survey and the additional roles health department inspectors are taking on as their states open back up.
When health departments come back online, many will be tasked with new responsibilities. In addition to assessing food safety protocols like making sure food is stored at the appropriate temperature, inspectors may also end up evaluating restaurants on staff use of personal protective equipment, whether their interior layout allows for proper social distancing, or whether their customers remain within restricted capacity limitations, Li said.
The article notes that inspectors may also face challenges in making sure they can complete inspections safely with some contemplating virtual inspections or prioritizing some sites over others based on violation history.
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