Environmental health reducing office hours

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Environmental Health office is reducing hours and days of operation.

Beginning April 16, the office, located in the Newton County Administration Building, will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Currently, the office is open five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The reduction in hours is due to a decrease in demand for walk-in customers, said Karen Shields, public information officer for Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments. Customers are more often using the online service to fill out paperwork, Shields said.

The Environmental Health office handles inspections for restaurants and other establishments serving food, including school lunchrooms; land use inspections for sewage management systems; permits and plan reviews and inspections of hotels and motels, swimming pool, tattoo parlors and other body crafting studios; complaint investigations related to food poisoning and other health-related problems; and injury control in the form of posters related to choking, hand washing, etc.

The reduction in office hours will have minimum impact on time devoted to inspections done in the field.

"This is purely a change in the time the office is staffed," Shields said. The public can visit www.newtonhealthdept.com for more information about Environmental Health services and to download related forms.