Restarting Ohio: No violations despite former employee’s accusations, restaurant owner says

Business passes surprise health department inspection July 1.

Restaurant Owner: No Violations Despite Ex-Employee’s Accusations

KETTERING — UPDATED (July 2): David Krites, owner of Christopher’s Restaurant in Kettering, said the establishment passed a surprise inspection by Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County in the last couple of days.

This latest inspection was performed Wednesday, July 1, following a June 18 inspection triggered in part by a former employee who questioned Krites on why, the former employee said, kitchen staff employees were not wearing masks.

INITIAL REPORT (June 30)

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The owner of a Kettering restaurant tells WHIO his restaurant has passed all inspections by health officials, despite accusations made by a former employee in audio of a conversation circulated widely on social media.

In the audio posted to social media, obtained and verified by News Center 7, the now-former employee can be heard questioning owner David Krites of Christopher’s Restaurant on why, he says, kitchen staff employees were not wearing masks.

“I’m worried about my safety and I’m worried about my family’s safety,” the former worker can be heard saying in the audio, asking Krites whether he planned to require all employees to wear masks.

After telling the employee health officials have indicated to him that kitchen staff must be careful about wearing masks while working around hot kitchen equipment, Krites can be heard becoming angry when the employee continued to press for answers.

“If you don’t want to work here you can quit today,” Krites can be heard saying, later adding, “I’m just telling you right now, if you want to get in my face about this, you can get the (expletive) out of my restaurant.”

In a written statement released to WHIO on Tuesday (posted in full at the end of this report), Krites apologized to his customers and family, saying in part, “I give to you my sincerest apology for my aggressive attitude and the language I resorted to in the conversation.”

Krites went on to note that his restaurant has passed inspections by Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, and is following state guidelines.

“I want to be very, very clear,” he said. “We have been, are and will continue complying with all of the requirements of the COVID-19 Ohio state order and, we have had NO suspected or reported confirmed COVID-19 cases.”

A spokesperson for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County told News Center 7 the department is aware of the recording involving Christopher’s Restaurant and is in the process of “following up with Christopher’s to discuss the claims being made.”

The PHDMC spokesperson noted that restaurant employees are required to wear a mask, “with certain exceptions for health or safety reasons,” specifically saying, “Generally, working over an open flame may be an exemption, but it depends on the physical set up of the kitchen, how close other people are, etc.”

PHDMC said it will be further evaluating the situation at Christopher’s.

The employee who recorded the audio declined comment Tuesday.

Full statement from owner of Christopher’s Restaurant:

Just 24 hours ago, a recorded audio of a private discussion with a past employee was released all over the internet. Before I address all the false accusations being spread, I first want to own up to the conversation. To all of our Christopher’s friends and family, our staff, our customers, my own personal friends, my wife and my two boys, I give to you my sincerest apology for my aggressive attitude and my language I resorted to in the conversation. Please forgive me as I was very unprofessional, and, while I held on as long as possible, I lacked self-control in managing my frustration. And to my 80 year old mother, I am so sorry. I knew better. I am sorry I embarrassed you.

Before I update you on the operating facts of our restaurant, I want to very, very clear. We have been, are and will continue complying with all of the requirements of the COVID-19 Ohio State order and, we have had NO suspected or reported confirmed Covid-19 cases. On June 18th, we had a routine, random COVID-19 inspection by the health department performing the Covid-19 Dine Safe Ohio Order – Restaurants and Bars Inspection. There are 16 separate points. We passed 14 and 2 were not applicable to our establishment.

For those who are unfamiliar with the various guidelines, you can click on the following link of the May 7th Press Conference. To save you time, fast forward to 19:20 and listen to at least 19:40. The incident referenced above, occurred on May 6th, 2020. The conversation (on the audio) referenced with the health department began the day before, on May 5th, as an “anonymous” complaint was filed with the Health Department regarding masks. Their drop in inspection discovered no infractions of any kind and we discussed new items recently released and more of the (then) current guidelines.

-- David Krites, Christopher’s Restaurant Owner