January 31, 2009
Diners to Get a Quick Guide to Cleanliness
By GLENN COLLINS
For the first time, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will compel the city’s nearly 25,000 restaurants to publicly post inspectors’ cleanliness ratings, which have previously been available only online or at the department. Rating signs, to be supplied by the city, will be required to be visible from the street, either in a restaurant window or vestibule.
The agency also plans to switch to a letter-grade system similar to that used for years in Los Angeles (using the letters A, B and C for passing inspection grades). The new rules, which will be part of a broad revamping of inspections, will be put in place over the next two years, giving restaurant operators time to comply.
The department said that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed off on the program as part of the executive budget announced Friday. He has scheduled a Saturday news conference to announce the new procedures.
“We expect this will improve our inspection program,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city health commissioner. “It will encourage restaurants to be cleaner and inform people so they can make better choices about where to eat.”