Restaurants in southern Nevada fall under the oversight of the Southern Nevada Health District. You'll have to meet the district's requirements on cleaning, proper equipment installation, training your staff and any other rules it sets.
All your kitchen and other equipment has to meet the district's sanitary standards. Self-service counters, for instance, can only use wood for support if it's encapsulated with an impervious material such as stainless steel; has a food-grade solid-surface top; and has no holes for piping, plumbing or wiring. Walk-in refrigerators and freezers must be prefabricated and either installed whole or assembled in place. Customized walk-ins have to be tested by a third party.
The way you place your equipment in the restaurant is also covered by regulation. For example, unless a piece of equipment is easily movable or sealed to the wall, it needs enough unobstructed space around it that you can clean it easily. Equipment that isn't sealed to the floor should be on wheels or have at least 6 inches of space under it. Poisonous chemicals must be stored safely away from any food.
Some rules are specific to individual counties or cities in southern Nevada. If, say, you open your restaurant in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, all employees who handle food or drink -- kitchen crews, bartenders, servers -- need certification. Each worker has to complete an online food-safety training course and pay a $40 fee. Your county or city's health department can tell you the local requirements you have to meet.
The health district will inspect your restaurant to verify that you keep it clean and sanitary. The results range from an "A" rating down to a "C," though it's also possible that the restaurant will be shut down until the problem is corrected. You and your staff need to emphasize cleanliness and food safety from the start. Everything must be cooked, stored and served at the correct temperatures; you're not allowed to leave refrigerated food out long enough for it to spoil. If food does spoil or becomes contaminated, you must discard it. Mop or scrub every surface daily.
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