North Carolina’s freshman senator, Sen. Thom Tillis, is getting some pretty bad press today for saying that he has no problem with restaurants not being required to make their employees wash their hands after using the bathroom. Of course that’s the headline version that’s grabbing everyone’s attention, but when you see it in context it’s not quite that bad. Here’s what he said:
Tillis said his interlocutor was in disbelief, and asked whether he thought businesses should be allowed to “opt out” of requiring employees to wash their hands after using the restroom.
The senator said he’d be fine with it, so long as businesses made this clear in “advertising” and “employment literature.”
“I said: ‘I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says “We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom,” Tillis said.
“The market will take care of that,” he added, to laughter from the audience.
In that context the quote’s not nearly as bad as the headlines and social media posts would lead you to believe, but even so his stance is terrible public policy. First of all, just because you require a sign doesn’t mean it’s going to be seen. More importantly, how do you propose to deal with all the people who get sick or die before the word gets out that a restaurant is toxic?
I’m all for letting the market decide in many areas of our lives, but public health ain’t one of them.
I live in Lewisville and I work in Greensboro for a trade association that works with companies throughout the 12 counties of the Piedmont Triad so you could say I live the whole "regionalism" thing. Because I'm paid to stay on top of what's going on throughout the Triad I track the news in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point, Burlington, Mebane, etc. and every once in a while I'll notice an interesting contrast between the various municipalities. Today after checking my news feed I came to the startling realization that if you went by the local blogs alone you'd have to believe that Greensboro is a graveyard for restaurants while Winston-Salem is experiencing a veritable renaissance of eateries.
From the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership blog in the last day or two:
Via Ed Cone's blog I found this post on 99 Blocks titled Vanishing Eateries – Can you help us out? about the restaurant closings in Greensboro.
As commenters at Ed's place pointed out the restaurant business is notoriously risky and in any given downtown you're going to see any number of restaurants come and go on a regular basis. My point is that if you were to base your assessment of the health of these two cities' restaurant sectors on what you read online you'd think that the folks in Greensboro are going to all be burning up the travel lanes on westbound I-40 to get a decent meal. I know some folks in Winston-Salem who'd claim that's always been the case, but I'm here to tell you that there are some great places to eat in both cities. If you feel like picking up the tab I'll be happy to take you on a tour.
I do believe the end of the world is nigh since Esbee has affiliated herself with a project that has a Facebook group. She's looked down her nose at Facebook and Twitter for as long as they've existed so I can only believe that someone sneaked this into the mix behind her back.
BTW, Local Dish Winston-Salem features contributions from the uber-coolest ladies online in the Twin Cities.