ARIZONA: Maricopa County to hold meetings over play-area rules
Posted: May 1st, 2012 - 12:10pm
Source: The Republic
The Maricopa County Board of Health recently directed county environmental-services staff to hold stakeholder meetings and public hearings leading up to new health-code regulations for restaurant playgrounds.
The decision was the first tangible step toward a countywide ordinance prompted by one Chandler mother's personal quest. Erin Carr-Jordan, a mother of four with a doctoral degree in developmental psychology, has garnered national interest with her push over the past year for restaurant-playground regulation nationwide.
The proposed ordinance would set cleaning and maintenance requirements for indoor jungle gyms and other children's play equipment at restaurants. It would require restaurants to display a sign instructing parents to encourage their children to wash their hands after they play. It also would require a hand-washing or sanitizer station near the playground.
The county Board of Health and the Board of Supervisors would need to approve the change. The earliest that could happen is late July, when the Board of Health next meets.
County Supervisor Fulton Brock has been pushing for the change, saying it is a "common sense" decision. But it also has been a politically sensitive topic, with Arizona Restaurant Association President Steve Chucri running for a county-supervisor seat this fall.
However, the Board of Health, which includes Supervisor Don Stapley, unanimously supported the decision, and the Arizona Restaurant Association agreed to participate in the rule-drafting process.