Health inspectors go virtual to get new restaurants up and running

Dept. of Health conducts pre-opening restaurant inspections virtually
Dept. of Health conducts pre-opening restaurant inspections virtually(Hawaii Department of Health)
Published: Apr. 28, 2020 at 10:51 PM HST
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HALAWA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -In the digital age, even restaurant inspections are going online. The first virtual inspection was done at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in Hawaii Kai from the Department of Health’s Halawa facility on Tuesday.

It’s part of a temporary effort to help spur new businesses and create jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This interim virtual inspection process with Raising Cane’s is one innovation to help Hawai‘i restaurants open doors, create jobs to stimulate the economy and keep moving forward,” said Food Safety Branch Chief Peter Oshiro.

For 40 minutes, inspector Jacqueline Robson asked the manager to direct her through the restaurant’s layout.

She then directed him to test equipment to ensure it was working properly.

The virtual initiative is only for new eateries. Routine, unannounced inspections are temporarily suspended.

“This is something like a stop gap measure that we’re trying to do during this pandemic as a modified department operation," Oshiro said. "But nothing’s going to take the place of being in the facility and talking with the people and actually first hand seeing what we’re supposed to be looking at.”

Oshiro says only a handful of restaurants will go through this digital process.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers got the green light to open its drive-thru. No word yet when service begins.

The Hawaii Kai location is Hawaii’s second Raising Cane’s restaurant.

The state plans to conduct an in-person inspection at Raising Cane’s 30 days after Governor Ige lifts his emergency proclamations.

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