Portsmouth business’ food permit pulled and restored after it was found out of compliance with Phase 3


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth business temporarily had its food license pulled after it was found out of compliance with mandatory Phase 3 guidelines, the health department confirmed.

Rick’s Frozen Custard had its permit pulled on Thursday after the business was found to be out of compliance with two key Phase 3 guidelines: masks and social distancing. Virginia Department of Health spokesperson Larry Hill said business staff weren’t wearing masks and there wasn’t “guidance or tape” to help customers properly social distance.

Hill confirmed the business reopened on Friday after quickly correcting the violations and creating a plan for future compliance with Phase 3 guidelines, which Gov. Ralph Northam has put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus as Virginia businesses reopen.

10 On Your Side called Rick’s Frozen Custard and asked to speak with the business owner. That person was not available at that time and has not returned a call to our investigators at the time of publication.

10 On Your Side’s Kiahnna Patterson interviewed Northam on Friday. He confirmed that Virginia is “stepping up” Phase 3 guideline enforcement, as well as testing and contact tracing, to try to control the spread of COVID-19.

“What we’re hearing from our tracers is kind of two-fold,” Northam said. “Our bars and restaurants are an issue. People are not complying. People are not social distancing. They’re not wearing masks.”

Other businesses in Hampton Roads have had their permits pulled by VDH after they were also found to be of compliance with Phase 3 guidelines.

Mack’s Barge, in Norfolk, had its food permit pulled last week after an unannounced visit from two health department inspectors and the Virginia Department of Beverage Control, business owner Geoff Fout told 10 On Your Side.

Mack’s Barge reopened Wednesday after Fout correcting social distancing violations.

The Living Room and Chicho’s Backstage Cafe, also in Norfolk, also had their food permits pulled after they were found out of compliance. The Boxx on Atlantic Avenue and Central@Shore on Red Tide Road in Virginia Beach had their permits pulled as well.

“We’re going to be watching very closely. We have and will continue to do that,” Northam said.

10 On Your Side has received copies of thousands of complaints the public has made to VDH since June 14 about restaurants and other businesses not following Phase 3 guidelines. We will continue to analyze the data and will provide more details as they become available.

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