DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA)– Several businesses have temporarily closed this year because they were considered hazards. Some people say it seems like restaurants can’t seem to keep their doors open, but the Macon County Health Department says things aren’t always as they appear. Customers have watched their favorite restaurants temporarily close because of health concerns. Now they’re wondering what might be lurking in the kitchen and landing on their plates.
“I mean it’s scary,” said Lorrie Tinker. “They have a responsibility to keep their kitchens clean and their establishments clean,” said Michael Irwin. That’s exactly what the Macon County Health Department’s Environmental Practitioner Brian Wood says his office is trying to do. “Our first priority of course is the protection of public health is to provide safe food for people when they go out for dinner,” said Wood.
This year the Macon County Health Department did 650 routine inspections and had 11 closures. Three of those closings happened on the same day. Something that likely hasn’t happened in over a decade. They say some places face problems in warm weather like keeping refrigerators cool and other issues. “Insects, rodents things like that that can carry disease,” said Wood.
The health department says those concerns aren’t impacting the numbers. Wood says they have had about the same percentage of closings this year that they’ve had for the past 2 to 3. However, one thing that is changing, social media. “With Facebook and all of the media that we have available people are taking pictures and showing it,” said Tinker.
That’s what Wood believes has gotten people talking more, customers being more watchful, and others too nervous to eat out at all. “It’s just getting safer to eat at home,” said Tinker. “We watch for owner’s responses,” said Irwin “but if they get nailed again. we’re going to take a hard look.”