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St. Louis County restaurant inspectors facing threats, intimidation, union says

The inspectors are responsible for ensuring restaurants comply with regulations and sanitation measures
Credit: Sara Machi

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The union that represents restaurant inspectors said employees are being threatened and intimidated and it is calling for "common decency."

“Our members are hard-working professionals who are being subjected to physical threats and intimidation," said Teamsters 610 Principal Officer Dan Thacker in a news release. “That is unacceptable."

St. Louis County issued public health orders last month that prohibits indoor dining. Restaurants may serve customers outdoors or offer takeout.

The union said the inspectors who are responsible for ensuring that the restaurants comply with those regulations and sanitation measures have been subjected to threats while inspecting restaurants.

The restrictions on indoor dining prompted a group of restaurants to sue the county last month, asking a judge for a temporary restraining order, which would allow restaurants to reopen their dining rooms. 

But a judge denied the restaurants' request, which would have allowed them to open immediately. The case can still continue in court. 

RELATED: Judge denies restaurants' bid to block St. Louis County's indoor dining ban

The restrictions on restaurants also prompted a protest outside of County Executive Sam Page's office last month.

County council members filed bills aimed at limiting Page's authority though they have failed to pass. Monday, a Missouri state senator announced he plans to file legislation to limit the powers of county executives across the state. 

While the battle over restaurant restrictions continues -- in court and in politics -- the union representing the workers said threats against the restaurant inspectors must stop. 

"We just hope people will treat our members the way they would want to be treated themselves," said Jeff Hall, president of Local No. 610.

Threats to restaurant inspectors are investigated by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and ultimately turned over to the police, the release said.

RELATED: State senator wants to limit St. Louis County COVID-19 restrictions