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Saturday, February 27, 2021

State Clarifies Doggy Dining Direction (for now)

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New program allows people to dine out and help raise money for Do More 24 campaign

Restaurants will offer specials, and a portion of the sales will be donated, but that portion will be paid by a sponsor.
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Grain Craft Kitchen + Bar in Newark welcomes diners with their dogs in the outside eating area

Following last week’s dustup over confusion that state health officials would begin enforcing a ban on pets at outdoor dining venues, the Division of Public Health’s (DPH) Office of Food Protection has issued revised guidance to restaurant and pet owners alike.

The document seeks to clarify the agency’s position on code enforcement, according to a spokesperson, while signaling the state’s intent to conduct a comprehensive review of pet-related dining policies by the end of 2019. 

Importantly for restaurants and dog lovers, the DPH confirmed it will “not enforce the outdoor provision of the code until further discussions take place.”

The howling outcry was sparked when an August 9 Facebook post by the agency suggested an impending crackdown on pets in outdoor dining areas, which, although commonly practiced across the state, turns out to have been a rarely-enforced code violation.  The post led to concern and confusion among restaurant owners, and pet owners quickly mobilized to change the code.

“This is a revision of a previously developed document, but the revisions made were largely to provide clarity to food establishment owners that while dogs are prohibited in outdoor dining spaces under the Food Code,” said DPH’s Jen Brestel.  “Due to questions from food establishment owners, DPH wanted to issue clear guidance on the code, our enforcement plans, and plans for additional discussions regarding dogs at outdoor dining spaces.”

 

A Q&A in the document acknowledges that “while it is prohibited, the Division of Public Health (DPH) food safety inspection officers will not strictly enforce this provision of the Food Code until further discussions can take place. DPH will provide updated guidance by the end of 2019.” 

In the meantime, DPH is encouraging restaurants to use “industry best practices” related to dogs at outdoor dining areas and reminds owners that “no dog should pass through any interior area of a restaurant.”

The guidance document further says restaurants should post clear signage that dogs may be present in outdoor areas and reiterated that dogs need to be leashed and well-behaved. 

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed to sit at the bar, so that old joke about the man who shot my paw won’t work in Delaware.

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Latest News

COVID cases decline; more than 200,0000 vaccines given; state continues testing

The state has created a way for people to report violations of the state's vaccine policy

UD ramps up restrictions designed keep COVID cases from continuing to climb

The university brought 4,000 students back to campus for spring and one of the new rules says they are not allowed to have visitors.

New program allows people to dine out and help raise money for Do More 24 campaign

Restaurants will offer specials, and a portion of the sales will be donated, but that portion will be paid by a sponsor.
- Thank you to our sponsor -
- Thank you to our sponsor -

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