Restaurants Closing at an Alarming Rate (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw - NBC33

February 21, 2014 Updated Feb 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (NBC33) - The Allen County Department of Health is doing everything they can to ensure all establishments in the county are up to code, even if that means shutting restaurants down.

So far in 2014, the Department of Health has closed ten restaurants or bars, which is well ahead of last year's pace when there were 23 closures in all of 2013.

"Our duty is to protect the health of the public," says Ann Applegate, director of the Food and Consumers Protection Division of the Allen County Department of Health. "So sometimes you have to close a facility in order to remedy the issue. Once that's done and once they've completed everything to get re-opened again we continue to follow-up with that facility. Not just on a routine inspection, but we will follow-up every week or so just to ensure the problem has remained corrected."

Applegate also says she believes the string of cold weather may also be playing a factor.

"Certainly we've had a difficult winter and there's a lot of snow on the ground and pests like structures, they like security so if they go inside of an establishment, if there is food, if there is other things that are allowing that pest to live nice and happy inside of there then we have seen a bit of an increase in that. And I think weather does have something to do with it."

A typical timeframe for a business to be reopened once they are shut down by the Allen County Department of Health is between 24 and 48 hours, depending on the specifics of their closure.

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