More grading may not be what Nassau County wants right now, but when it comes to health, you can't opt out.
Comptroller George Maragos recently called for the county to emulate New York City's successful system that requires restaurants to post health inspection grades on their front windows.
The city pioneered this system five years ago under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Now the city boasts that 95 percent of its restaurants get an A -- although only 55 percent do it on the first try. The inspection system has three degrees of violations, depending on the severity of the problems, and they get translated into A, B or C grades. If a restaurant does not receive an A upon first inspection, the health inspector will return unannounced and the second grade stands for the year.CartoonMatt Davies' latest cartoon: Red planetCommentSubmit your letterReader essaysGet published in Newsday
The city health department has noted some other promising results. There has been a 38 percent increase in restaurants with A grades from five years ago. Also, health-related violations have gone down, including an 18 percent drop since 2014 in citiations for mice.
At first, the Nassau Health Department's reason for dismissing Maragos' suggestion was that letter grading would not be useful because conditions "can change on a daily basis." But the office of County Executive Edward Mangano said he likes the concept and has asked the county's health commissioner to evaluate its plausibility. Suffolk County is not considering a grading system, but it should.
The city's experiment pushed restaurants to work for their A's. Nassau and Suffolk county eateries also should be put to the test.