The state Department of Health’s Food Safety Branch issued a red “Closed” placard to a restaurant in downtown Honolulu due to repeated violations of employees not wearing face masks.
“It is so critical at this time for all businesses and their customers to pay close attention to pandemic prevention measures and requirements, and for all business owners to ensure that their employees and customers are properly wearing face masks at all times,” said Peter Oshiro, chief of the Food Safety Branch, in a statement today. “This is essential to curbing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
The Food Safety Branch conducted an inspection at Doner Shack, or Döner Shack, at 79 S. Pauahi St. after the office received complaints that employees were not wearing masks on Jan. 20.
An inspection conducted Monday revealed the restaurant’s owner/manager was not wearing a mask or covering while working. The Food Safety Branch issued a warning letter to the restaurant for the violation and indicated a follow-up inspection would be conducted.
Inspectors returned to the eatery Wednesday and the same owner/manager was still working without a face covering. After an inspector posted a red “Closed” placard in the restaurant, health officials said the owner removed it and refused to close the business, violating a food safety code violation that requires a placard to be displayed.
Violators face a $2,000 fine.
Issuance of a red placard is a temporary suspension of a food permit. Refusal to close an establishment that is operating without a food permit also may lead to fines of up to $1,000 per day.
Health officials said the restaurant may not legally reopen until a follow-up inspection is requested and an inspector verifies all employees are wearing masks “at all times.”
The owner said he requested clarification from the health department concerning requirements for face coverings and indicated he didn’t receive a clarification.
Oshiro said the owner was issued a warning letter that stated all employees in the establishment must wear masks at all times.
The latest emergency order lists exceptions to the face coverings requirement that include employees working at a desk or work station and “not actively engaged with other employees, customers, or visitors, provided that the individual’s desk or workstation is not located in a common or shared area and physical distancing of at least six feet is maintained.”