Board of Health reports good news for food permits

SOUTHWICK – Board of Health Director Tom FitzGerald has announced that all 58 food vendors in town have paid their permit fee for the upcoming year.

In July 2018 the Board of Health changed their permit fee and fine regulations. Previously, fines were $50 per week with a three week, $150 fine being the maximum.

For 2019 the deadline was January 1 and establishments were allowed a seven day period after January 1 to pay their fee. Those that didn’t would be fined $50 each week for the next three weeks. If the renewal payments aren’t made by the fourth week or by February 1, the establishment would be issued a fine of $50 per day and will consider the business to be operating without a permit and could be in danger of closing immediately.

Board of Health Director Tom FitzGerald. (WNG File Photo)

The permit fee schedule for food establishments in town depends on different variables and there’s no uniform rate for all food establishments in town.

In May of 2018, the Westfield News reported that seven vendors hadn’t paid their food permit fee by the May 21 deadline. At the time, Board of Health Director Tom FitzGerald noted that if the seven food establishments hadn’t paid their fee by May 21, a $150 fine would be issued. The original deadline to pay the permit fee was on January 1, but was then extended to January 31 by the Board of Health.

Due to increasing the fees and changing the regulations this past July, FitzGerald believes the changes have made an impact with food vendors paying their permit fees on time.

“That probably helped, that’s a local regulation that we passed,” said FitzGerald. “Everybody paid up, nobody got fined.”

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