The New York City Council is considering legislation that would tone down the Department of Health and make it just a little bit more forgiving. The package of new measures would allow DOH inspectors to give warnings for violations that don't have any actual impact on food safety, rather than issuing steep fines and crippling points. As WNYC reports, the legislation would also require the DOH (and other city agencies) to identify regulations that are outdated or otherwise should be eliminated.
Beyond fines, DOH ratings can have a huge impact on restaurants, with recent cases like the 42 point inspection at the Deathwatched Joanne Trattoria, the temporary shutter of Kefi, and the indefinite shutter after a back-breaking 57 point inspection at the West Village old-timer El Faro. Most restaurateurs see inspections like these as too punitive and as a cynical money-grab by the city. WNYC quotes nightlife man Paul Seres, who would love to see a more relaxed DOH but is skeptical these measures will ever be adopted: "How are you going to take away millions of dollars in fines in a city that's broke? I mean, financially and fiscally, it doesn't make sense." The City Council votes on the first of these measures this week.
· Council Seeks to Ease Growing Fines for Restaurants [WNYC]
· All Coverage of the Department of Health [~ENY~]