City Council passes bill requiring some restaurant data to be posted online - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jul. 22, 2015 9:57 am

City Council passes bill requiring some restaurant data to be posted online

If restaurants get shut down due to poor health, they will have to post why in an online database.

A Baltimore restaurant.

(Photo by Flickr user m01229, used under a Creative Commons license)

Despite failing on grades in the spring, Baltimore’s City Council managed to take some action that makes restaurants tell you if they’re dirty.

On Monday, the Council passed a bill requiring city eateries that are shut down by health inspectors to post the reason they’re shut down. Along with posting paper versions in the restaurant window, the city Health Department will have to post info about the closures on its website and two social media outlets, the bill states.

The flier shuttered restaurants will have to post. (Photo via Brandon Scott)

The flier shuttered restaurants will have to post. (Photo via Brandon Scott)

City Councilman Brandon Scott, who fought for restaurant grades back in the spring, saw this bill pass to a chorus of support in the Council. The mayor is also expected to sign the measure.

“This bill would support governmental transparency by informing the public of the specific reasons for the Department’s actions,” City Health Commissioner Leana Wen wrote in a letter supporting the bill. “The Health Department has worked with the bill sponsor in drafting the bill and is confident we can meet the bill’s requirements in our current operations.”

In a separate letter, city Chief Information Officer Jerome Mullen wrote that the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology will “make sure that all online forms are easily accessible” and secure.

It’s not only the city’s website that is seeing the new feature. HDScores, a Baltimore-based startup that makes an app to provide restaurant goers with health department scores, will now have some hometown data to release.

“HDScores team looks forward to being able to eat out in Baltimore City and know how clean the restaurants are,” founder Matthew Eierman said. “We will be adding Baltimore City to our database when the data is made available.”

The app recently added data from Howard County, and also has Anne Arundel and Montgomery County inspection scores. The app has scores in 26 other states besides Maryland.

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Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is Market Editor for Technical.ly Baltimore and Technical.ly DC. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following stints in New Orleans and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Baltimore Fishbowl, NOLA Defender, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune and the Rio Grande Sun.

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