HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state’s food inspectors will now be enforcing COVID-19 safety guidelines for restaurants and bars and could shut them down temporarily if they don’t comply.
The state said Department of Health inspectors will be inspecting food establishments to ensure they’re meeting requirements for social distancing and face masks.
“The department is taking these steps now to enforce preventive measures that are known to be effective in preventing the transmission of the disease, especially as we have seen a recent increase in the number of COVID cases and evidence of community spread,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson.
“We feel these steps are necessary to assure all restaurants and other food establishments are doing everything they can to protect the health of the public and their employees.”
The state Health Department has published guidance for food establishments online.
Food inspectors will now be looking for physical and mask wearing violations during routine inspections or as a result of complaints.
After the first violation, a food establishment will get a written warning. A second violation will result in a red placard and a restaurant or bar will be told to close until they fix the issues.