DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — When you eat out at a restaurant, you expect things to be clean, safe and inspected properly.
FOX8 has learned health inspections are not happening as often as they should.
Davidson County’s inspection management system shows in May 2022, 27 restaurants were inspected compared to eight in May of 2023.
We’ve all seen the signs hanging in windows showing the restaurant’s health rating. Something to pay attention to is the date. Many owners said their window signs are way out of date.
“Normally, they told us that we’re supposed to get graded four times a year,” said Nailah Curry, who owns Lou Lou’s Seafood. “I think we got graded once last year.”
Lou Lou’s Seafood in Lexington got its most recent inspection in early May. It’s the first time Curry has seen an inspector this year.
“She’s like … ‘you probably won’t see us for another year,'” Curry said.
As an owner with a 96 grade, Curry works hard to keep her restaurant sanitary, food stored properly and surfaces as clean as possible. As a person who likes to eat at other restaurants, she has concerns.
“I know that we’re clean,” she said. “I’m not worried about us, but there’s other places I know that aren’t … someone should be checking that.”
The owner of Main Street Pizza and Deli said she’s supposed to get inspected every three months. Her sanitation rating shows the last time an inspector came to her restaurant was in January.
A spokesperson with Davidson County’s Health Department said staffing shortages are part of the problem. It’s something Curry has heard inspectors complain about.
“They just haven’t had people,” she said. “They’ve been short. They haven’t had anyone.”
FOX8 checked health inspector vacancies across the Piedmont Triad. Davidson County is down one position in its Food, Lodging and Institutional Sanitation Department. Forsyth County is looking for two restaurant inspectors.
Guilford County needs one. That position has been open for about three months. In that time, on average about 120 inspections have not been completed because of the vacancy.
Curry doesn’t know when an inspector will return, but she’s going to keep doing everything to make sure when they do, she keeps her A rating.
“It means everything,” she said. “I Your customers look at it. It shows that you care about your restaurant.”
In Davidson County, the same people who make sure restaurants are up to standard also inspect pools.
You can imagine how busy they are with pools opening in the last few weeks and the start of summer approaching.