Restaurant Owners Say Public Grading System Needs Changes

YARMOUTH – The Yarmouth Board of Health’s proposition to require inspectors to grade restaurants on their cleanliness and post those scores publicly on each facility is opposed by many restaurant owners in town.

Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Vilbon said that the owners don’t mind being graded, but do believe posting them on the entrances would confuse patrons.

“Yarmouth has a very seasonal economy, and the people visiting may not understand how the scoring actually works,” she said. “It’s almost unanimous from every food establishment we’ve talked to that they are against this.”

The regulation would deduct points from a maximum of 100 for ever demerit found by the inspector, including handling ready-to-eat foods with bare hands.

Much like many academic scoring systems, a 100 to 90 would warrant an “A” score, 89 to 80 a “B,” and anything below a 79, a “C.” Any scores below 65 would mandate another inspection and an appearance of the establishment’s representative at a meeting.

The results of these tests would be published online, but Vilbon said business owners are not largely against that.

The town of Newton has a similar practice in effect, but Vilbon said that town’s economy is not a seasonal one. Any loss of business in the summer could have serious consequences, she said.

The Yarmouth Board of Health will vote on the issue at a meeting Monday, March 20th.

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