Restaurant-goers in Oklahoma County have recently filed more complaints against food establishments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
From March 11 through July 6, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department received hundreds of complaints, 100 of which were related to cleanliness, masks or sick employees. Of the 100, 67 were for employees not washing their hands or practicing bad hygiene, and 33 were for employees working while sick.
Since Monday, the department has received several complaints each day. Nine claiming employees were sick on the job, and 16 related to hygiene and masks.
Sheri Brack, a supervisor in the OCCHD department of food safety & environmental health, said the increase suggests customers are being more mindful of their dining experience.
“The public is so much more aware,” Brack said. “They’re not just assuming everything is okay, they’re seeing things. They’re just more active, I think, with reporting.”
For more information on how to file a complaint to OCCHD, click here.
If an employee were to test positive after working, a restaurant is not required to disclose the case publicly. Troy Scow, and OCCHD administrator, said the department appreciates when a business self-reports and takes action.
“(The restaurant is) doing the work in advance. The employee has already been removed. They’ve already cleaned, so we’re not going to punish them by sending an inspector out there to enforce something they’re already doing,” Scow said.
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt imposed a mask requirement for two weeks starting July 3. Brack said OCCHD is not primarily responsible for enforcing that rule and would likely refer any violation to the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Oklahoma City police told News 9 on Wednesday that they have responded to restaurants for workers not wearing face coverings but have not found any business to be out of compliance with Holt’s proclamation.