OCHD TO RESTART COMPREHENSIVE FOOD ESTABLISHMENT INSPECTIONS AS STATE ROLLS OUT DINE OUT MEASURES

HELPING CHILDREN COPE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
June 4, 2020
WIC Program Income Eligibility Standards
June 15, 2020

 

Governor’s order to allow outdoor dining starting on June 15, 2020

 

 Beginning on Monday, June 15, 2020, Ocean County residents will have the opportunity to enjoy dining out again. But according to Executive Order #150, dining out is being restricted to dining outdoors only.

 

“The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) wants residents to enjoy getting outdoors now that the warm weather is upon us,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of the Health. “And as we progress from curb-side pick up to dine-out options, we want people to know that the OCHD Environmental Division will continue to protect diners by ensuring retail food establishments are adhering to all required statewide health standards as New Jersey resumes its COVID-19 multi-phase re-opening plan.”

 

Since mid-April, the Environmental Division has performed several hundred cursory compliance checks from restaurants that provided curb-side or drive thru service to grocery stores. However, beginning on Monday, June 15, 2020 it will be business as usual as inspectors resume their routine detailed and comprehensive inspections.

 

“The main goals of the compliance checks up to this point were to insure substantial compliance with the New Jersey State Food Code,” advised Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “Official ratings were not given at that time, however a facility that was not in substantial compliance would have been given a full inspection and time afforded to correct issues.”

Regenye also stated that non-compliance with the COVID-19 executive orders issued by the governor will continue to be forwarded to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department for follow-up and enforcement.

 

OCHD environmental staff will continue to adhere to all the public health measures currently set in place while performing inspections for the protection of both the employees and public..

 

“We not only want to make sure you’re safe from food-borne illness and other health concerns while dining out but we also want to keep everyone safe when we are in these establishments doing our job,” said OCHD Environmental Health Coordinator John Protonentis. “We’ll have a typical busy summer ahead of us with approximately 3,250 retail food establishments within the jurisdiction of the OCHD with a good amount scheduled for inspection. The OCHD will also continue to provide guidance and assistance to long-term health care facility food preparation activities to those that request such.”

The following is a list of protocols retail food establishments must follow – and customers can expect – while dining outdoors pursuant to Executive Order No. 150 (2020);

 

  • Ensure all areas designated for food and/or beverage consumption are in conformance with applicable local, State, and Federal regulations;

 

  • Limit capacity to a number that ensures all patrons can remain six feet apart from all other patrons at all times, except for those patrons with whom they are sharing a table;

 

  • Ensure that tables seating individual groups are six feet apart in all directions and that individual seats in any shared area that is not reserved for individual groups, such as an outdoor bar area, are also six feet apart in all directions;

 

  • Prohibit patrons from entering the indoor premises of the food or beverage establishment, except to walk through such premises when entering or exiting the food or beverage establishment in order to access the outdoor area, or to use the restroom;

 

  • Require patrons to wear a face covering while inside the indoor premises of the food or beverage establishment, unless the patron has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age; and

 

  • Prohibit smoking in any outdoor areas designated for the consumption of food and/or beverages.  The requirement that food or beverage establishments impose this prohibition shall automatically sunset once food or beverage establishments are permitted to offer in-person service in indoor areas.

 

“The OCHD still expect our residents to follow social distancing and health hygiene measures whether dining out or participating in other activities,” Regenye concluded. “Food establishment managers and their staff must encourage customers to follow these guidelines if we hope to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus moving forward.”

 

For more information regarding COVID-19 outdoor dining guidelines please visit the OCHD website at www.ochd.org. The OCHD is also providing a general COVID-19 Information Call Hot Line for residents and clinicians to answer questions regarding the coronavirus. The number is 732-341-9700 ext. 7411.

The NJDOH (NJPIES) hotline is available for questions around the clock at 1-800-222-1222 or by dialing 2-1-1.  Other related sources; for medical COVID-19 questions call 1-800-962-1253 (24/7) or Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts.

Additional information can be found at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

https:/ /www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/summary.html

or New Jersey Department of Health website at:

https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml