New York City restaurants to see reduced fines, inspection reform

nyc restaurants grading
New York City restaurants can expect to see some changes aimed at reducing fines and helping owners improve their posted health scores.
Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Restaurant in New York City can expect to see some changes aimed at reducing fines and helping owners improve the scores posted on their front doors thanks to an agreement between city officials.

The reforms come after weeks of negotiation between the City Council and the Health Department, both of which agreed to reduce fines by 25 percent, closer amounts levied against violators before the grading system launched in 2010.

With the fine reductions also come fixed fine levels, whereas fines were previously decided on by a panel and could range from $200 to $2,000. Inspectors’ standards and exceptions, however, remain the same.

Before the health inspection system was overhauled by the Bloomberg administration, the city took in about $32.8 million. By the end of 2012, the city reported $52 million in fines. The new changes, which would go into effect by June at the earliest, are expected to drop by $20 million.

“Letter grading was never intended to be a revenue generator for the city of New York,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said. “The rules will provide much-needed fine relief to the city’s restaurants and will show that we can treat restaurants fairly without compromising public safety.”

The new rules, which must first be approved by the city’s Board of Health, also include a provision that allows restaurant owners to request an consultative inspection — an ungraded, penalty-free option in preparation for the real thing.

“We are giving restaurants the tools they need to improve their performance,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said, “and are balancing fairness to these small-business owners, who are the lifeblood of our city, while at the same time maintaining safety standards.”

The announcement follows up on campaign promises made by Mayor Bill de Blasio to ease burdens on small businesses — especially weighty fines.

The city’s health inspection system faced scrutiny and criticism since former Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted its launch four years ago and praised again months before leaving office.

“Those that don’t want to clean up their kitchen, I know why they’re bitching,” Bloomberg said of upset restaurant owners. “But I would suggest don’t eat in a restaurant unless they have an ‘A.’”

The city most recently reported reported that 88 percent of New York City restaurants have an A grade, with the number of restaurants with B dropping to 10 percent and C grades to 2 percent.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.