Health Codes: What are the Laws?

Since the 1960s, people have been told that going barefoot into a bank, restaurant, comic book store – or any business at all – is illegal and/or against “health codes.” Some stores even say “Health Code” on their doors or windows. Others will not have a sign, but cite “health code” for evicting you. There have even been businesses that have refused flip-flops because “these are not full shoes.”

Over the past 25 years, more people are wearing sandals, flip-flops, and open-toe shoes. Because of their popularity, flip-flop wearing patrons are no longer hassled. These are now considered “shoes,” and businesses no longer hassle patrons. There is too much money at stake.

However, as less people started going barefoot, when someone DOES go barefoot, it is perceived that someone is “breaking a law” – even though a simple internet search or call to the Health Department will show the real truth:

ZERO USA STATES HAVE ANY “HEALTH CODES”

ZERO USA STATES HAVE ANY LAWS, EDICTS, POLICIES, OR STATUTES ON GOING BAREFOOT IN PUBLIC

We have written to all 50 States and will have all of our letters posted as they come back.

You will notice in the letters that Health Departments ONLY focus on food sanitation, safety, & storage – of FOOD.

This means that:

  • The Health Dept. does NOT focus on “health codes” at banks, comic book stores, call centers, or offices. ONLY food.
  • The Health Dept. does NOT govern CUSTOMERS. Every USA State agrees that a customer ordering food – or even eating at a table – is not a health risk for food preparation. Customers do not spend time preparing food or handling anything in the food preparation area.
  • For employees, it does get a bit different. Each state has a rule for employees who are handling food. Although each state advises that they do look for “clean clothing,” shoes are rarely mentioned. If shoes ARE mentioned, it is for employees who handle grease or are working with hazardous materials. Even so, when a state does mention shoes, it is very vague and does not mandate what type of shoes.
  • With the Health Dept.s sharing this info, we have learned that hostesses, waitresses, baristas, smoothie makers, and bartenders are ALLOWED to go barefoot. The BIL may not endorse it fully in some cases – but it is in fact LEGAL.

There are ways to do your own research. Please go to your state Health Dept. and feel free to look up “dress codes.” (Hint: You will NOT notice anything in regard to going barefoot – because there are ZERO USA States having such laws for customers.)

Also, here are the Health Department letters we have received back from Health Depts.

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