By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The County’s Education, Engagement & Enforcement (EEE) program continues to be met with favorable responses from business owners pleased to see the cooperation and support. Health inspectors from Environmental Health Services have already visited 1,800 businesses that are considered “high risk” for the spread of the coronavirus, such as restaurants, gyms and those offering personal services.
Their job is to ensure businesses are complying with state and County health orders and guidelines, while providing advice and resources to help them meet those guidelines.
To help businesses better understand the program and process, the County has produced a comprehensive public service video explaining the program.
Typically, the inspector’s first step is to determine if the business is displaying a “COVID Compliant” placard, which denotes its membership in the County’s COVID-Compliant Business Partnership program. Over 4,000 businesses are participating in the program, and the placard itself reassures patrons that the establishment is taking steps to protect their health. A recent expansion of the COVID-Compliant program now provides an additional $1,200 (up from the initial $2,500) to businesses forced to restructure operations such as moving to outdoor service.
The inspector then provides the business owner or manager a Readiness Survey, which can be used as a checklist to ensure the facility is meeting the criteria for protecting employee and customer health. Specifically, each facility must show that it has the following:
- A written Site Protection Plan outlining various preventive measures and specifying the person responsible for implementation, employee training and communication, compliance, and correcting deficiencies. The Plan must also include a COVID case investigation (tracking) process.
- An Employee Training Plan outlining how the facility intends to train employees on steps to limit spread of the virus. The Training Plan should also discuss how employees can screen themselves for the disease and determine when they should stay home.
- A plan explaining how the facility will implement Control Measures and Screening, along with specifying its disinfection protocols.
- And finally, documentation detailing the steps the facility will take to create and enforce effective Social Distancing
At the conclusion of the visit, the health inspectors provide each facility with a list of resources and government agencies — such as CalOSHA and Alcoholic Beverage Control — that can help them meet the various State requirements.
“Our emphasis is on a collaborative effort to help local businesses thrive by operating safely during these challenging times,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We’re confident our approach will help us eventually win this battle while returning our business community to strength and prosperity.”
The County has had to send out about 1,680 notices to non-compliant businesses as a result of complaints from the public, but after receiving the notices, most move into compliance. Of this amount, 423 contacts have been made by the County Sheriff to businesses in response to non-compliant businesses, but only one criminal case against a business has been generated, with a second expected this week.