Pearland relaxes rules on dogs at restaurants, expands food truck permits

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In two updates to the city’s health code that took effect May 26, the city of Pearland has made it easier for restaurant owners to allow dogs and for food truck operators to run their business year-round on one permit.

“The food truck business has gained in popularity with patrons. Allowing for these mobile food units to apply and obtain a mobile food unit permit will cut down on the owners having to apply for every single event they will be attending,” said Joshua Lee, director of communication for the city of Pearland. “This also ensures that the mobile units are inspected by our health officers and pass a fire marshal inspection.”

Food trucks will be subject to the same 12-month maximum permit length as brick-and-mortar restaurants. Food trucks must also have at least one employee who possesses a food manager certification on site. Approved permits must be visibly posted on the food truck as well.

As for dogs, restaurant owners will be able to decide whether and where to allow them, but they are required to notify city health officials and post notices at their location that identify where dogs are allowed. However, the policy strictly prohibits dogs from being in food preparation and storage areas. Also, this relaxed policy only applies to dogs, not other pets, city officials said.

“Many businesses have patios and outdoor seating. Many business owners have asked if they could allow their patrons to bring dogs to sit out on the patio while they enjoy a cold drink and a meal,” Lee said. “This has also been trending in many other cities. We felt that it would be best to allow the business owner make that decision as long as it is posted for customers and we are informed.”

Businesses will be notified about the changes through email, web and in-person contact with health officials, the city said. City council ratified the code changes on May 14.

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Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018. A graduate of the University of Houston, Matt was most recently the director of community outreach and engagement at the Columbia Missourian and a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.
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