BALTIMORE (WJZ) — How clean is your favorite restaurant? Soon, you will be able to know. Every restaurant and carry out will have to post its health rating.
Derek Valcourt explains those ratings will be right in the front window for everyone to see.READ MORE: U.S. Park Police Name Pamela Smith As New Chief, First Black Woman To Lead The Force
Critics worry anything less than a perfect health rating will hurt a restaurant’s financial bottom line. But, nonetheless, it appears Baltimore will join a long list of cities already posting health ratings in restaurant windows.
Eat out in New York City and you can’t miss the letter grade posted prominently in restaurant windows. Soon, similar reports will be posted right in the window of every Baltimore restaurant, food truck and grocery store.
But instead of an “A,” “B” or “C” grade, Baltimore’s proposed new regulations would label a restaurant’s health ratings as “Excellent,” “Good” or “Fair.”
Dr. Leana Wen is the head of the city’s health department.
Valcourt: “Why is posting a restaurant’s health rating in a window so important?”READ MORE: Bobbleheads Memorialize Baltimore Sports Superfan Mo Gaba, Raise Money For Charity
Wen: “It will give an additional incentive to restaurants to try even harder to make sure that they’re doing everything possible to be safe and healthy.”
“To characterize one restaurant as slightly better than another–that seems a bit unfair to me,” said Gino Cardinale, City Cafe owner.
Cardinale runs Mount Vernon’s popular City Cafe. He says most restaurants like his have nothing to fear from the ratings, but echoes concerns expressed by the Maryland Restaurant Association, which says the new ratings system may unfairly portray well-run restaurants as less than perfect.
The bill also requires the city to post complete restaurant inspection reports on the Internet. Cardinale says that should be enough.
“In my opinion–a restaurant, a grocery store, a food truck, a hot dog cart–you’re either fit to be open or you’re not. If people want the finer details behind those health inspections, they should be online. You pick it up, you go online, you read it and you know what’s going on,” said Cardinale.
The bill is expected to pass a final vote by the full city council on March 23. That means beginning September 1, you can expect to see those health ratings posted in Baltimore restaurant windows.MORE NEWS: Baltimore Mayor, Maryland Governor Clash After Hogan Says City Getting More Vaccines Than ‘Entitled To’ In Response To WJZ Question
A spokesman for the mayor says if the bill makes it to her desk, she will sign it.