OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Several businesses in Douglas County have not paid for their 2022 food and drink permits.
According to the Douglas County Health Department, at least 50 businesses have not paid for their 2022 food and drink permits and are operating illegally. The businesses owe either permit fees, late fees or both.
Invoices for 2022 food and drink permits for restaurants and other businesses were sent on Nov. 1, 2021, and payments were due by Dec. 31, 2021. The Health Department says the 2021 permits expired on Dec. 31, 2021. Food and drink establishments that don’t pay for their new permits by May 4 risk closure.
The Health Department says it is working with Omaha Police to issue citations and close businesses operating illegally, starting May 6.
In 2021, the Health Department did not choose to close restaurants operating without permits. Health Director Lindsay Huse says that will change this year.
“The Health Department is responsible for keeping the public’s food safe,” Huse said. “The fees paid by the restaurants for these permits fund the inspections that ensure your food is safe. Last year, due to the pandemic, we declined to close restaurants. A few operations chose to take advantage of that and never paid for their 2021 permits.”
The Health Department adds the announcement is meant to help businesses avoid closure.
“We have given these restaurants every opportunity to pay for their permits and most of those in the restaurant community have done that. While we want to work with these businesses, those that have continued to operate unlawfully leave us with no choice but to close them.”
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