The Press Herald recently featured a story about a Maine brewpub co-owner who opened his business to the public in defiance of the governor’s order.

I completely support the pub co-owner’s right to protest government policies by reaching out to elected representatives, writing letters to newspapers or staging public protests in an attempt to get those policies changed. Open violation of health policies, however, makes neither good health sense nor business sense.

The health and safety practices of any business are totally dependent on the culture that management fosters in the organization, one in which health and safety rules are paramount – always taking precedence over other considerations such as convenience or profitability. If a health policy does not make sense, change that policy, but do not ignore it.

What matters is how employees act when nobody is looking. Trust is everything. Everyone has seen signs in restaurant bathrooms directing employees to wash their hands. If we read in the paper that management openly flouts one government health rule and directs employees to do so, too, how should we as customers have confidence that a busy line cook will wash her hands after using the bathroom? How can we have confidence that beer brewing staff sterilize the tanks in between batches when it’s time to go home? We can’t.

This is why it’s so shortsighted of establishments to knowingly violate health directives. It just doesn’t make business sense, and I for one will always have second thoughts about consuming their products in the future.

Mark Ziarnik

New Harbor

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