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How health department is policing restaurants during COVID-19

Inspections of local restaurants have been on hiatus by the health department since March because of COVID-19.
Posted at 6:14 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 19:14:04-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Our last Kitchen Cops report was on March 19,.

So it's been awhile.

Annette Rodriguez, director of the city/county health department, told me the entire department shut down in early March to focus on COVID-19.

So how do customers know that the food they’re picking up at drive-thrus is being made safe?

So they’re doing everything that they normally would do to make sure that that food is safe and well prepared by people that are not sick so they can continue to service our community.

Rodriguez says her office is receiving occasional complaints from customers concerned that the 6-foot social distancing order isn’t always being observed.

“They have to come up with ways," she said. "They have to think outside the box. And to think of ways to actually be able to service the customer and our community, but be the 6-feet distance.”

There are more than 2,000 area restaurants that get inspected at least twice a year.

At this point, Rodriguez has no clear idea when those inspections will resume.

But she is encouraging restaurant operators to closely follow CDC guidelines, even though they change daily.

She offers suggestions like customers ordering and pre-paying for their orders online.

And for restaurants to set the food orders out on a table for pick-up.

Rodriguez says restaurants need to see themselves as essential businesses to the community in these unprecedented times.

To see themselves as a solution.