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Behind the Kitchen Door

Salute to America vendors taking extra precautions amid COVID-19

Crowds celebrate the Fourth of July at Salute to America in 2019.
Crowds celebrate the Fourth of July at Salute to America in 2019.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The annual "Salute to America" Fourth of July festival will take place without any COVID-19 health orders in effect.

Festival Chair David Thompson said they reduced the number of vendors in order to spread them out and encourage social distancing. Instead of the typical 70-plus vendors, there will only be 48.

"We signed up less on purpose so we could better social distance them and spread them out and there would be no congestion for traffic in the walkways," Thompson said.

Each of the vendors will go through an inspection with Jefferson City's Environmental Health Services. However, the inspections will not include any coronavirus-related special requirements. David Grellner, the Jefferson City environmental health manager, said the inspections will look the same as every other year.

"There are no guidelines currently regarding COVID," Grellner said. "So, they'll just be expected to follow the Cole County health guidelines."

Those health guidelines are included in the Temporary Food Permit, which each vendor is required to submit.

Included in the guidelines are several tactics that also mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

  • Handwashing facilities are required at the operation.
  • All utensils and other food contact areas should be washed and sanitized before vendors start cooking.
  • Food, utensils, single-service items, paper plates, etc. must be protected during storage, preparation, display and service.
  • Use disposable tableware (single-service) only, unless proper facilities exist to clean and sanitize reusable tableware between uses.

The food permit also states that no uncovered containers of food be put out for self-service. Condiments should be in closed dispensers, pumps or single-serve packets.

Grellner said inspectors will evaluate each food vendor Friday morning to ensure they are in compliance with the food permit. If there are any issues, the vendor can either fix what they are doing to comply, or the health department can withhold the permit until the problem is solved.

"Typically, we had no issues with voluntary compliance," Grellner said. "We will hold the permit until they can come into compliance and without the permit, they're not allowed to operate."

ABC 17 News Investigates / Cole / Coronavirus / Jefferson City / Jefferson City Video / News / Top Stories / Video
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Molly Stawinoga

Molly Stawinoga is ABC 17’s weekday morning anchor and a reporter at ABC 17 News. Molly joined the news team in 2017 while studying political science, journalism and Spanish at the University of Missouri. She is originally from DeKalb, Illinois.

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