The City of Houston Emergency Operations Center has issued a press release reminding restaurants that suffered flood damage yesterday that they can’t necessarily just clean up and reopen. They may have to also undergo reinspection.
The press release reads, “If an imminent health hazard may exist that might result in the contamination of food, or that might prevent food from being held at required temperatures,” restaurants need to contact the Houston Health Department.
That means that restaurants that flooded, are still without power, and have refrigerators or freezers that are now nonfunctional because of water damage and the like will likely be closed down for a while until the Houston Health Department deems them ready to operate again.
However, the ordinance also states, “A permit holder need not discontinue operations in an area of an establishment that is unaffected by the emergency occurrence.” So, if a restaurant has power, isn’t still flooded and the food storage areas were untouched by flood waters, in theory it should be able to resume business.
Floods are a very difficult situation for restaurant owners, who are not only facing cleanup costs, food replacement, equipment repair and construction costs but also a loss of revenue while they await re-inspection. Additionally, restaurant workers aren’t making an income during the repair phase. Most industry workers have no paid time-off benefits.
If your restaurant is still closed after this week’s flooding, get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let readers know. Additionally, be sure and let us know when it is open again so we can include that in our weekly Openings & Closings column.