New law allows restaurants, stores to use outdoor grills
By Josh Bergeron
SALISBURY — Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday signed a bill into law that allows restaurants to use outdoor grills to prepare food.
The bill was crafted by Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Rockingham. McInnis’ district includes southern Rowan County.
On Wednesday, McInnis said he is “tickled to death” about the bill becoming law. McInnis said he expected the governor to sign the bill in time for the holiday weekend.
“It’s a common-sense bill that does away with unnecessary regulation,” he said. “This will help small businesses in areas that cannot afford to have big fire suppression systems.”
McInnis said several grocery store chains wanted the bill to be signed into law in time for Memorial Day. Just like restaurants, he said, grocery stores such as Food Lion will be able to set up a grill in their parking lots, cook food that’s prepared in the store and bring the cooked food back into the store to be sold.
“On top of that, they can have that nice aroma floating around the parking lot,” he added.
McInnis, the first primary sponsor of the grill bill, introduced the measure in February. It passed the N.C. Senate without a single “no” vote. The result was the same in the House.
The bill allows a “food establishment” to grill outdoors if the following requirements are met:
• The outdoor 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 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 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 the grill is used.
• 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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