Restaurants will be "compelled" to display a letter "grade" - A, B, C or failed, as far as I can tell - to inform diners about cleanliness. The department "hopes" to hire an additional 45 inspectors - despite budget/staff cuts - which would bring the number to a hypothetical 185. There are more than 25,000 restaurants in the city, but if this expanded team can inspect three a week, including the necessary re-visits to check that corrections have been made where required, then at least the grades will be based on inspections within the last twelve months. Of course, that won't happen, so you'll have some restaurants with C grades based on an inspection last week next to restaurants with A grades based on an inspection eighteen months ago.
So it's meaningless. Although I admit, with only three grades, seeing Daniel get the same rating as a corner pizza joint - good or bad - will be mildly amusing.
Since the program will cost several million dollars to implement, one would expect, in these tight times, that the need for it would be clear, and its objective precisely specified.
"Every day more than a thousand people get sick from eating in restaurants." Thus Dr Frieden, our health commissar.
To put the quintessential Mouthfuls question - so?
What I'd like to know, first, is how that figure looks over a period of years. Is the number - assuming its valid - getting better or worse? Has it - my guess - remained much the same. What has occurred to necessitate significant emergency spending?
What I'd like to know, second, is what the commissar considers a tolerable rate of restaurant-related sickness. How many people eat in New York restaurants every day? I don't know. But if 25,000 restaurants is about right, one million customers would seem to be a highly conservative estimate (forty a day per restaurant).* That's one million customers. A thousand a day get sick (although how we know this is accurate...). That's...one tenth of one per cent. 0.1%. And it's probably much smaller, because I suspect I underestimate the size of the dining population. (And you can guarantee a proportion of cases reported will be sick for some reason other than restaurant hygiene, some factor or other the restaurant couldn't reasonably foresee.)
0.1% of diners on any given day get sick. Great job, New York restaurants!
Now what the hell is the target figure these extra few million dollars are aimed at achieving? O.001%? Absolute zero? Is there nothing else we need to spend this money on?
Mayor B., at a press conference:
They are losing business already, hand over fist. Why do we actually need to spend money to expedite the path to bankruptcy?
Throw the whole stupid, pandering, inexplicable, idiotic project under the bus.
*Please someone check my figures, I am notorious for getting this sort of thing wrong.