Virginia Department of Health could hire nearly 100 specialists help enforce guidelines

Specialists could help enforce COVID-19 guidelines at businesses, especially restaurants

ROANOKE, Va. – There could soon be more environmental health specialists in Virginia to help enforce COVID-19 guidelines, especially at restaurants now that students are returning to college.

The topic came up during Roanoke-Allegheny Health District Director Dr. Molly O’Dell’s weekly media coronavirus conference call.

O’Dell said there was a proposal on the state health secretary’s desk Tuesday to hire 92 more specialists.

Some of those would be in the Roanoke-Allegheny Health District.

O’Dell said the VDH will not hesitate to enforce coronavirus guidelines.

“We have a process and they either comply with our requests or their permit will be revoked,” said O’Dell.

A business will have 24 to 48 hours to comply with a request before their permit is taken.

O’Dell pointed out, however, the VDH does not have what she calls “policing power.”

As of Tuesday, O’Dell said restaurants in the health district had been following guidelines.