The Darien Health Department has announced the suspension of food service establishment ratings until restaurants resume normal activities.

Routine on-site inspections of restaurants have been suspended since the governor ordered closure of food service facilities on March 16.

The announcement from the department said throughout the closure time, the staff has remained in constant contact with food establishments that have remained open for curbside, takeout and delivery as follows:

— Employee wellness: ensuring active managerial controls are in place, the screening of employees specifically for COVID19 type symptoms, social distancing requirements are met when employees are working, and the provision of and proper utilization of PPE.

— Social distancing requirements: reviewing social distancing protocols to protect the health of the public, the monitoring and control of the number of patrons inside the establishment at any given time, ensuring limited access to common areas, using tape, chalk or signage to mark out 6 feet on the floor to allow for separation at counters, checkout lines and sidewalks, and the control of access and egress into facilities with a one way traffic pattern.

— Safe food handling: proper hand washing by food handlers and delivery drivers must be practiced and enforced by the person in charge, reminding managers that bare hand contact is not allowed with ready to eat foods, safe holding and cooking temperatures in the kitchen must be monitored and commonly used sanitation practices are followed to prevent the potential spread of illness.

— Active managerial control: how is this essential function being practiced to reduce the risk of foodborne illness or COVID-19 transmission, special emphasis must be placed on good hygiene practices and sanitation.

All facilities receive regular CDC guidance updates as necessary.

To supplement the above and verify safe food handling practices are being adhered to during this period, the department will continue with site visits and in-person interviews at each facility on a random, unannounced basis, in the same fashion inspections are normally conducted.

The health department has begun dialog with local establishments to ensure that when reopening does occur, it will be in accordance with best practices to protect the public and the food service workers.

Contact information for the Darien Health Department:

Dept. Phone: (203) 656-7320

After Business Hours: (203) 662-5300

Town Hall Phone: (203) 656-7338

Dept. Email: dknauf@darienct.gov

Web Site: http://www.darienct.gov/health