Dining in Denver: new safety rules served to restaurants

Denver is going forward with a lousy restaurant inspection disclosure system that is more protective of restaurant owners than consumers.

Bob McDonald, director of the city’s public health inspections division, told the Denver Business Journal the idea is to more quickly penalize and bring about correction of the most severe health violations, and to allow restaurants with less health-endangering issues to correct theirs with less public notice. McDonald worked with the Colorado Restaurant Association for 18 months to create the new rules.

Under the new rules, critical violations will leave restaurants subject to fines for a second citation but not public notices.

Pete Meersman, president/CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, said his members have lobbied for changes to what they saw as an “unfair” system.

Under the new rules, the most-serious violators will be punished the most seriously, and the less-serious violators will be punished with fines but not the massive loss of business that can come with a public notice on their front doors.

“Owners … felt the adverse effect the postings had on their business was overly punitive for the issues involved.”