US & Canada

US senator questions forcing food workers to wash hands

Media captionShould employees be forced to wash their hands after going to the toilet?

A US senator has suggested that restaurants should not have to make their employees wash their hands after toilet visits.

Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, made the comments on Monday during a speech criticising business regulations.

"Let them decide" such issues, the newly elected lawmaker said.

His argument was that restaurants which did not require workers to wash their hands would quickly go out of business.

"But I think it's good to illustrate the point, that that's the sort of mentality we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country," Mr Tillis said.

He suggested that restaurants that did not require hand washing would have to alert customers with prominently displayed signs - itself a regulation.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thom Tillis says market forces are more effective than government regulations

Mr Tillis stood by his comments when interviewed later at the US Capitol.

"Sometimes there are regulations that maybe we want to set a direction, but then let those who are regulated decide whether or not it makes sense," Mr Tillis told the Associated Press news agency.

"They might pay a huge price," he said, but "they get to make that decision versus government."

The comments come as some Republican presidential hopefuls have questioned vaccine regulations amid a measles outbreak.

At least two hopefuls have said parents are justified in sometimes having their children avoid vaccinations generally required for attending school.

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