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Salem health board bans transfer of food license during business sales



A recent collaborative program with Southeast Elementary saw sixth-grade students create posters illustrating what most exemplified inclusion to them, which are now on display at the Salem Health District. (Photo by Morgan Ahart)

SALEM — The health board Wednesday adopted the resolution banning the transfer of licenses when a business selling food is sold.

First discussed at length and first read at the board’s Feb. 21 meeting, the resolution, officially read for the third and final time and unanimously adopted, requires anyone purchasing an Food Service Operation (FSO) or Retail Food Establishment (RFE) in the city to obtain an entirely new license. Prior to adoption of the resolution, it was possible to transfer the existing license when a FSO or RFE was sold rather than needing to obtain an entirely new license.

At the February meeting, Health Commissioner Kayla Crowl said that prohibiting the transfer would allow the department to force businesses that had received their licenses prior to the implementation of any given safety standards and been grandfathered as a result, allowing it to continue to operate with certain restrictions, to bring the business into compliance with current regulations. Crowl also said that the change would give the department additional notice when an FSO or RFE was sold, allowing it to respond appropriately.

“We are typically made more aware of facility transfer, that there’s a new owner, when they come in and get a new license, that way we are in the know, [Environmental Health Director Alan Masters] is in the know to do the inspections and get all the proper paperwork done,” said Crowl. “Not only that, but when a facility transfers, and the license doesn’t transfer, we are able to have these facilities that have been grandfathered in for many years, come up to code, because before that as long as it was the same license holder they were able to operate with just limitations on their license and things of that nature instead of having their whole plan review done and brought back up to code.”

Other matters approved included the renewal of the department’s memorandum of understanding with the Columbiana County Health Department for reciprocal services with fees, with a requested modification to change the annual report on services rendered to a quarterly report.

Crowl also provided an update on the status of death certificates in the city, explaining that while the stamp required to certify death certificates had not arrived yet, it was expected to arrive either today or Friday. Crowl also said that Interim Registrar of Vital Statistics and Outreach Coordinator Rachel Bowens would be attending a state webinar today regarding the role out of the new digital death certificate system, which once operational would allow families of the deceased to have a death certificate issued anywhere in the state.

“My understanding is that they’re looking to make it so people don’t have to travel to a specific place to have them issued. So, we’d be able to issue them if someone’s grandmother passed in Newton Falls, and they came to us,” said Crowl.

Dickey suggested that should the department need to order a new stamp in the future a prospective arrival date be requested and that if it is “too far out” quotes and prospective arrival dates from alternate suppliers be sought.

Public Health Nurse Chelsea Clark said that the department gave 15 vaccinations total in March — hree adults and 12 children — a decrease from previous months. Clark said a decrease in vaccination this time of year is common with the peak seasons for influenza and Covid ending, and the majority of students having already completed their required vaccinations for school. Clark also said that the department had received a new batch of Covid-19 injections for ages 19 and up, which were good until the end of May, and available for those aged 65 and up who are immunocompromised, whose doctor has recommended a second covid booster be administered annually.

“It’s not for everybody, it’s just for those who may need a little extra coverage,” said Clark.

Board President Pro-Tempore Judy Sicilia asked if Clark had received any word about proposed updates to the required vaccinations for schoolchildren, emphasizing the importance of schools continuing to promote public health immunizations.

“I think it’s important to continue to support and promote childhood vaccinations,” said Sicilia.

Clark said that the department had been given updates to the recommended list of vaccinations for children in response to manufacturing changes, but that she was unsure if schools had changed their required vaccination schedules to match yet.

“We just received word of some changes for recommendation for the different types of vaccinations that are being manufactured for children. I’m not sure if the schools have updated their schedule yet, I don’t believe that’s happened yet, but there’s been five or six vaccinations that they’ve changed,” said Sicilia. “Like the dtap requirement, for those that were allergic to pertussis they could get the dtap vaccination but that’s been discontinued, and stopped manufacture last year, and now they’re recommending anyone one to seven that would have gotten it to get the td which is just the tetanus with a little bit of diphtheria, so there’s been quite a few changes. I don’t believe the school have aligned with that yet because that information just came out, but it’s in the works.”

During her report Crowl said the department recently collaborated on a program with Southeast Elementary which saw their sixth graders create posters illustrating what most exemplified inclusion to them, which are currently on display at the health district. Crowl said that the winning student Asher’s poster depicted a new student invited to join a new friend group and bond through playing a video game together, receiving a day-pass from the Salem Community Center customized for Autism acceptance and awareness month and minority health awareness month.

“He had a wonderful depiction of a cellphone conversation including someone new that none of the friends had hung out with before and asked if they could all play video games together, and everyone was on board, and they even let that person choose what game they played so they felt included. The prize for that was a day pass donated by the Salem Community Center and they customized for Autism acceptance awareness month and minority health awareness month, with a congratulatory letter and I presented that to him this morning,” said Crowl.

Crowl said that the school was “very receptive” to the program and was ready to continue with further collaborations next year.

The meeting concluded with an executive session for the discussion of personnel matters with no action following.

The board of health will meet next at 2 p.m. May 15.

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