Thom Tillis may be doing more baby-kissing and less hand-shaking after he recently expounded on whether restaurant workers should have to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before they go back to handle food. The freshman senator made his stance known at yesterday's Bipartisan Policy Center event in DC, where he relayed a tale about a conversation he had in 2010 with a North Carolina constituent, according to Roll Call. As they sat in a Starbucks chatting about businesses opting out of certain government regulations, Tillis said the woman asked him what his thoughts were about mandating eatery workers lather up after a bathroom break, MSNBC reports. Tillis' reply? It's OK if they don't, "as long as [the restaurant posts] a sign that says 'We don't require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom,'" he said, as per Talking Points Memo.
The senator's rationale is that patrons will stay away on their own from restaurants whose employees don't feel like following simple hygiene. "The market will take care of that," he said he explained to his constituent. His speech echoed right-leaning arguments that mandatory government regulations such as these create a "nanny state," as Joy Wang writes for MSNBC. Wang also points out, though, that there would still be the "unsuspecting or poorly informed few who might … come away with a bonus order of food poisoning thanks to unsanitary practices." At the Chicago Sun-Times, Chad Merda notes an EHS-Net study cited by the CDC that found that "12% of food workers said they had worked when they were sick with vomiting or diarrhea." BPC President Jason Grumet got a few laughs at the end of the Q&A by telling Tillis, "I'm not sure if I'm going to shake your hand," per MSNBC.