Korner Pocket Issued Red Placard for COVID-19 Violations

August 28, 2020, 2:07 PM HST (Updated August 28, 2020, 2:07 PM)
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The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) Food Safety Branch

The Korner Pocket Bar and Grill, a Kealakekua restaurant on Hawai‘i Island, became the first Big Island business to be issued a red placard by the Department of Health’s Food Safety Branch for COVID-19 violations.

The Food Safety Branch responded to a complaint about the establishment’s violations of physical distancing and face mask use requirements in food establishments and bars. As a result of the complaint, the Department of Health conducted an initial investigation on Aug. 19, 2020, and documented the following complaints:

  • One employee was observed not wearing a face covering
  • Lack of 6-feet spacing between tables

DOH forced the Korner Pocket to close on Monday, Aug. 24 but allowed the establishment to reopen the next day after a follow-up inspection showed it had come into compliance with the rules.

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The department issued copies of the State’s Guidance for Reopening Food Services Sector (Restaurants, Markets, and Food Manufacturing – May 21, 2020, Ver. 1.0) and a warning letter indicating the observed violations. The owner/operator of the establishment was also informed that any further violations of the DOH Guidance would result in the issuance of a red placard and the mandatory closure of the food establishment.

During a follow-up inspection on Aug. 24, the health department issued a red placard for the following violation and required the establishment to immediately stop operations:

  • Two employees were observed not wearing face coverings in the kitchen.

The company had 20 days to request a hearing to contest the notice. But a follow-up inspection on Aug. 25 showed the restaurant corrected the violation. It was then issued a green placard and allowed to reopen.

The DOH Food Safety Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawai‘i residents and visitors through education of food industry workers and regulation of food establishments statewide. The branch conducts routine health inspections of food establishments where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed, or sold. The branch also investigates the sources of foodborne illnesses and potential adulteration, and is charged with mitigating foodborne outbreaks and/or the prevention of future occurrences. Health inspectors work with business owners, food service workers, and the food industry to ensure safe food preparation practices and sanitary conditions.

For more information on the department’s new restaurant placarding program, go online.

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