Skip to content

This Is Exactly How You Report a Restaurant That Isn't Following CDC Guidelines

It's important to call out dining establishments that aren't adhering to coronavirus rules.
outdoor tables on the street

Right now it's imperative restaurants take the necessary precautions to keep both diners and staff safe. In some situations, management and servers are pleading with customers to wear masks while dining indoors especially, but in other cases, restaurant staff neglect to follow the CDC's restaurant reopening guidelines.

Some state governors identify that various dining establishments are not operating in such a way that benefits public health, which is why they are encouraging diners to report them. In states where newly confirmed COVID-19 cases are spiking, ensuring that restaurants and bars, both of which are breeding grounds for the virus, are strictly abiding by guidelines is a top priority.

California's infection rate, for example, is rapidly increasing and while just last week Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he wouldn't shut restaurants down, he did halt businesses reopening in 19 of the state's 58 counties. He also reiterated the need for patrons to speak up when they don't see an establishment correctly following coronavirus rules.

Eater reports that Newsom has instructed diners to read up on the guidelines so that they know exactly what to look out for. "When you go to a restaurant and it's clear that they're not practicing what we are preaching, report them. Give us the tools to enforce," he said.

Now, here are three steps you can take to report restaurants and bars that are posing a health risk.

Step 1: Read up on your city's guidelines as well as the CDC's.

For a state as large as California, some cities are implementing more restrictions than others, which makes it all the more important to be well-versed on what exactly your city is prohibiting and permitting. For example, in San Francisco residents are legally required to wear face masks when out in public unless they're actively eating or drinking. Restaurants that fail to comply with mandatory health orders will no longer have outdoor dining privileges and those with repeated violations will be forced to close.

Again, it helps to know which guidelines your city is enforcing as well as the status of the current reopening phase. It's also important that you familiarize yourself with the CDC's restaurant reopening guidelines.

Step 2: Confirm which county your city is in.

Who you need to report to is largely dependent on the county you live in. For most counties in Southwest Florida, The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is who you'll want to file a complaint to. Some counties will have you email the necessary department or even call them. In San Mateo County, California, for example, you have to make a call to the county's Sheriff's Office at 650-363-4911 to report a restaurant.

Step 3: Be as specific as possible.

Out of respect for the person who has to read your complaint, make sure you spell out all of the violations you saw in a concise and brief manner. This will help those on the receiving end sift through the forms, emails, and voicemails that much faster.

For more, check out 5 Horrifying Mistakes Servers Have Seen at Reopened Restaurants.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
Filed Under