New Albany restaurant-inspection grades: Excellent, good, fair

Starting July 1, restaurants in Albany County, New York, will be required to post a prominent sign (right) near the front entrance to announce a simple, clear verdict of county health inspections: excellent, good, fair or unsatisfactory.

Only the first three will remain on display; restaurants that receive an “unsatisfactory” rating will be required to close immediately to remedy health violations and will be reinspected within days.

Although inspection criteria, guided by state law, will not change, Albany County Department of Health restaurant inspectors will use a new rating matrix to decide which rating to award. The matrix takes into account the number of “blue” (minor) and “red” (serious) violations a restaurant receives.

According to the language of the final resolution, adopted by the county board of health last month, restaurants receiving a “fair” rating will be reinspected within two to three weeks, while those that receive a “good” may request a reinspection, to be carried out “as staffing and resources permit.” Inspections are done at county expense, and there is no provision in the new law for restaurants to be able to pay for a reinspection to be done more quickly.