Lynchburg restaurant pens open letter to public following six anonymous reports

Texas Inn says it’s undergone 12 health inspections in the past six months
WDBJ7's Michael Alachnowicz reports
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 5:16 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Another customer heads to Texas Inn Monday to get their fill with a cheesy western or a hot dog.

But what’s happening inside those walls has caused a headache for owner Dave Saunders.

“We’re trying to play by the rules, but we’re being reported for things even if we play by the rules and that’s why it’s so incredibly frustrating,” said Saunders.

The Lynchburg staple has been serving customers through the years and through the pandemic, but is now getting served health inspections left and right.

Saunders says that’s due to anonymous reports that include misunderstanding of health guidelines. One example pertains to cooks.

“If you’re over a grill, over a gas-flamed grill, you cannot wear a mask. The Department of Labor and Industry says that’s a fire hazard, so there’s exemptions in the law that says if you’re working over a grill you’re not supposed to wear a mask. People come in, see our cook not wearing a mask, call VDH and report us,” said Saunders.

He says both Texas Inn locations have different health inspectors, prompting further issues.

What might be allowed at one location isn’t allowed at the other.

“Completely two different sets of rules. So we said fine, just tell us what the rules are, we’ll do whatever you ask. We just want to stay in business,” said Saunders.

Now in an open letter, he’s asking for the public’s help. He asks that people wear masks when they come to Texas Inn.

He says the Virginia Department of Health sent him a letter saying Texas Inn could face a fine or even closure if folks don’t follow the guidelines.

“We’re playing by the rules, we’re doing everything we can. And that’s not good enough,” said Saunders.

WDBJ7 asked the Central Virginia Health District for a statement on this matter.

A spokesperson said they cannot talk about a specific restaurant’s compliance status.

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