CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Restaurants will have to receive zero critical violations and fewer than six non-critical violations if they want to get an "excellent" rating under the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department's new system.
Environmental health director Anita Ray says the rating chart isn't official yet, since the restaurant rating system is still in a public comment period and Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health members haven't voted on it.
"We don't want people printing them out and saying, 'This how it is,' " she said.
But Ray said the final chart probably would look similar to the health department's sample chart, now available at www.kchdwv.org.
A board subcommittee voted in February to adopt a new three-tiered, color-coded rating system for restaurants that would rank the businesses as "excellent,""good" or "fair," depending on the number of critical and non-critical violations sanitarians find at the restaurants.
Health department personnel recently created a chart that will help sanitarians decide which rating best fits the restaurant. Looking at the chart, it appears businesses' rating under the new system would largely depend on the number of critical violations.
Only businesses that earn zero critical violations would be listed as "excellent." Businesses with one critical violation and fewer than 11 non-critical violations would earn a "good" compliance rating, according to the chart.
Any business with two critical violations would earn a "fair" compliance rating, no matter the number of non-critical violations. Restaurants with three or more critical violations would be shut down.
Ray pointed out that only uncorrected critical violations would count toward a restaurant's rating.
"They could be marked with a critical (violation) that can be corrected on the spot," she said.
Ray said restaurants likely won't be required to post the rating chart in their restaurants, although they will be required to post inspection sheets in plain view.
She said the health department has discussed distributing laminated copies of the charts to businesses, to show to patrons who inquire about the system.