County health unveils local restaurant COVID-19 safety list

Peninsula Premier Admin

SALINAS — Prospective diners in Monterey County can now see whether their favorite eateries, or those they’re thinking about trying, have confirmed with county health regulators that they have the proper COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

On Tuesday, the county Environmental Health Bureau announced that information is now available online allowing county residents to check on whether local food facilities have submitted the required social distancing and mask compliance form, including confirmation they are following protocols such as take-out only practices under the current stay-at-home order, physical distancing, use of face coverings by both employees and customers or clients, frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfecting, and employee training.

The forms were issued in March last year and were supposed to be posted at all food facilities in the county before being sent back to the county.

The bureau regulates food safety facilities in the county.

Links to the compliance chart listing which food facilities have submitted the form, along with resources and safety protocols are available at www.mtyhd.org/covid-19-foodsafety.

Acting County Environmental Health Bureau Chief Ric Encarnacion stressed the need for local restaurants and customers, and government to unite in the effort against the pandemic.

“In this unprecedented time, it is important we all work together; the restaurant industry, the customers and your local government, for public health, for the entire county to participate in keeping us moving forward, together,” Encarnacion said.

Health Department spokeswoman Karen Smith compared the COVID-19 food service safety intiative to the Gold Seal program.

A check of the site shows 1,264 in compliance, having returned the required form, 1,579 not in compliance and 27 in partial compliance and requiring follow-up.

Encarnacion took over as acting director of the bureau after longtime director John Ramirez retired earlier this month.

Contributed by local news sources

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