The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health serves the largest city in Virginia with a population of over 435,000 with an additional 3,000,000 visitors per year. The Guinness Book of World Records list Virginia Beach as having the longest pleasure beach in the world with all the elements of a classic seaside resort: gorgeous beaches, a lively boardwalk, plenty of restaurants and nightspots, festivals, and amusement rides sure to appeal to kids. It is home to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park and First Landing State Park which receives more visitors per year than any other state park in Virginia. Sports enthusiasts will find celebrated golf courses in Virginia Beach and the surrounding area, as well as sea kayaking and miles of hiking trails plus qualifying marathon race events at the Oceanfront. Virginia Beach is home to the East Coast Surfing Championship celebrating 50 years. Many believe Virginia Beach is at its best in the off-season, when the town is less crowded but the weather is still mild.
Here are some of the major food and beverage events: Virginia Beach Restaurant Week, Town Center Art and Wine Festival, East Coast She Crab Soup Classic, Neptune Wine Festival, Sensible Seafood Fest, Pungo Strawberry Festival, Virginia Beach Wine Week, Mediterranean Weekend, Craft Beer Festival to name just a few of the many food and beverage events. The above list does not include festival events such as Shamrock Marathon, Patriotic Weekend, Boardwalk Art Show and the Neptune Festival.
The Environmental Health Staff consists of 19 Environmental Health Specialists, 3 Supervisors, 1 Manager, and 5 Administrative Support Staff with 1 Supervisor. Programs include the Food Program, Onsite Program and the General Environmental Health Program.
The Food Program includes the inspection, permitting and all education and enforcement activities associated with the following: restaurants, caterers, commissaries, adult care, adult day care, jails, hospitals, hotels, child care, schools, residential care, colleges, institutions, summer camp food service, summer food service program, bed and breakfast.
The Onsite Program includes the inspection, permitting and all education and enforcement activities regarding conventional sewage disposal systems, alternative sewage disposal systems, and private water supplies, campgrounds, summer camps, migrant labor camps, marinas and the Beach Water Monitoring Program which requires the sampling, closing of a beach, posting, re-sampling and opening the beach for 22 beaches, with a sampling frequency of once/week from mid- May until October.
The General Environmental Program consist of Rabies, Special Events, Swimming Pools, Hotels, Motels, tattoo establishments, hair, tanning and nail salons. The department is an integral part of a Hotel Task Force which includes a representative from Environmental Health, Code Enforcement and the Fire Marshall‘s office. A joint inspection is made of each hotel, motel and inn by the Task Force.
Food Program Staff regularly permit and inspect over 1600 permitted Food Establishments (such as restaurants, schools, daycare, nursing homes, hospitals, jails, juvenile centers, mobile food trucks, hotel continental breakfasts, group homes, commissaries, caterers, etc.) which are inspected on a risk frequency (several times a year).
The Onsite Program Staff processed over 700 septic and well applications, inspected 51 marinas, 8 campgrounds, 2 summer camps, and 2 migrant labor camps last year. Our local government requires the district to approve and sign all subdivisions before recordation. The Onsite Program Staff are also responsible for the Beach Water Monitoring Program.
General Environmental Health Program has the Special Events/Festival inspections; Out of over 500 events that occurred in the City of Virginia Beach, approximately 375 events were inspected on weekends to issue temporary restaurant permits. There were 558 swimming pools permitted and inspected (indoor and outdoor) last year. Staff inspected 118 hotels as a part of a joint Hotel Task Force with 100% of hotels completed annually. Personal Services (Body Art, Hair and Nails, Tanning) required inspecting and permitting 650 establishments. The Body Art inspections are every 30 days. There were 1327 quarantine releases in 2014 and 15 animals identified as positive for rabies.