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Outdoor grilling bill heads to Gov. Cooper for final approval

By Josh Bergeron 

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Fire up the grills.

Restaurants will be able to use outdoor grills if Gov. Roy Cooper signs a bill passed by the state Senate and House.

The House passed S.B. 24 on May 11. On Thursday, the Senate gave its final approval, which sends the measure to Cooper’s desk.

The Senate passed the grill bill on April 4 by a vote of 47-0. The House did the same by 113-0. Because of changes to the bill, the Senate on Thursday approved the measure again by a unanimous count.

Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Rockingham, who represents part of Rowan County, was a primary sponsor of the bill. On Friday, McInnis said he looks forward to Cooper signing the measure.

“I am very pleased that the General Assembly has removed another unnecessary regulation from small businesses with the passing of S.B. 24, outdoor grilling,” McInnis said in a news release. “This bill will allow small and large licensed food establishments to grill food on an outdoor grill, which will increase traffic and profits.”

Less than a page long, the bill would take effect as soon as the governor signs it.

The bill allows restaurants to grill outdoors if the following requirements are met:

• The grill is on the premises of the establishment where food is served.

•The grill is continuously supervised by an employee when in use.

• The grill has a cooking surface made of stainless steel or cast iron, meets sanitation requirements for equipment in a food establishment and is stationed on a concrete or asphalt foundation.

• The outdoor grill is not operated within 10 feet of combustible construction.

• All open food and utensils are provided with overhead protection of some type, such as domes, chafing lids or cookers with hinged lids.

• The grill is in an enclosed area and protected from environmental contamination when not in use.

• The grill’s concrete or asphalt foundation is cleaned daily on any day it is in operation.

• Raw meat, poultry and fish are prepared in a pre-portioned or ready-to-cook form inside the restaurant, food is handled only with utensils when cooks use the grill, and food cooked on the grill is processed inside the restaurant.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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