New rules for eatery health code violations

Posted at 7:45 AM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 07:45:41-04

The lights are dark, the door is locked, and according to a sign out front, Cinco de Mayo Restaurant on Eastern Avenue is closed.  The Baltimore Health Department shut it down last Wednesday because it had no hot water.  Information diners now know thanks to a new city law.

"The citizens of Baltimore want to know more information and it's a great thing,” said City Councilman Brandon Scott.  “It's about transparency, it's about tax payers dollars and it's about their health."

Since the bill went into effect 12 days ago, eateries have been shut down because of food not being kept cold enough, mice and rat infestations and dirty kitchen tools.  The restaurants can re-open if they fix the issues and pass a follow up inspection.

Scott has been fighting the City to give customers more details about the cleanliness where they grub for the last few years.

"We're gonna continue to hold people accountable and continue to show people what's happening with health inspections," he said.

Before the bill went through, restaurants weren't required to tell diners why they were closed, and details weren't available online for about a month.       

Now, besides the yellow sign, information will be posted on social media sites and on the Health Department's website.

"We want to have a healthier City and we can do that by making better food choices and definitely not eating at places that are not sanitary," said Scott.

He says the owners of two recently shut down restaurants were also cited because they tried to remove the Health Department's sign giving details about their violations.