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Updated Jun 7, 2012 - 4:29 pm

Maricopa county discusses new rules for restaurant play areas

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Maricopa County met with local restaurant owners Thursday morning to discuss proposed regulations to keep indoor play areas clean.

Under the new guidelines, play areas would be included in a restaurant health inspection. Restaurants would have to clean the area once per eight hour shirt, and would have to have hand sanitizer or a hand washing sink in that area.

"When these places buy one of these play structures, they make an agreement with the manufacturer that they will clean and maintain it," said Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan of Chandler. "It's already in place what they should do, so it's nothing new, it's already there."

Carr-Jordan has been on a crusade to get tougher regulations in place for months now. She believes local restaurant owner have their customers' best interests, and safety, in mind. She is just looking for something stronger in writing.

"We already have these standards in place at our restaurant," said Don Elem, an owner of a Chandler Chick-Fil-A. "We feel having a clean bathroom, a clean playground, and a clean dining room is really what people want."

The new rules could go in to effect later this year. However, local restaurant owners are giving feedback to make some adjustment to the proposed guidelines before they are part of the inspection. Some owners said that since they already have regulations in place, the proposed rules would be a unnecessary burden.

"It's a little too aggressive, specifically with the things restaurants already have in place," said Sherry Gillespie of the Arizona Restaurant Association. "Restaurants already have mandates in place to address what to do when things happen in the play area, and in the dining room, especially if they are part of a chain."

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started here in December 2011. I'm definitely the new kid.

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado.

Education: I got my undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. I then went to graduate school at Arizona State University.

Family: I have been married to my wonderful wife, Jamie, since June 2010. We don't have any kids, but we do have a cat that causes as much trouble as a kid.

Favorite food: Chocolate chip cookies and cucumbers. In fact, every day I have a couple of cucumbers in my work bag chopped up and ready for snacking. I eat the cookies to offset being too healthy.

Favorite spot in Arizona: Sedona, hands down. I actually went there for my honeymoon.

Favorite news memory: I worked on a 3-month project involving the problems with Type II Diabetes along the U.S.-Mexico Border. It's a problem that a lot of people don't about. I met and worked with people down there that changed my life.

Favorite movie: It's hard to pin down just one, but one that always keeps replaying in my head is The Princess Bride.

Favorite TV Show: That 70's Show and The Simpsons. I could probably name some others, but I watch those two as often as possible.

First job: I was a busboy for an Old Chicago back home in Boulder. I worked all through high school at that place, and loved it.

Favorite band: I have a lot of music I listen to, but I love the Foo Fighters and Rise Against. 3 Doors Down is another group that's a favorite on my iPod.

Favorite sports team: The San Francisco 49ers by far! I get a lot of guff for cheering for them in Arizona, but I love every moment of it. As far as college sports go, I'm always following the BYU Cougars.

Outside interests: My wife and I love going outdoors, whether it's camping or hiking. Personally, I love mountain biking. I also play a little guitar when I have a bit of free time.

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