EAST WENATCHEE — The Chelan-Douglas Board of Health has unanimously extended the renewal of food business permits by three months.

Food permits, for businesses like restaurants, usually expire on Jan. 31 of the year, but will instead expire April 30, said Susan Shelton, Chelan-Douglas Health District interim environmental health director.

Health district personnel are behind on inspections because staff has been helping respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have about 800 permitted establishments and we’ve completed almost 200 inspections,” Shelton said. “So we’d like to make sure we can get out into the field and do inspections and help the food establishments along the way.”

The move on Monday will reduce the district’s permit and fee revenue by about $72,000 in 2021, she said. The agency is also looking at reductions in revenue from fewer temporary food permit fees for events.

“What this will mean to our revenue is it’ll reduce it probably about 25%, so again that’s about a quarter,” Shelton said.

The number of food establishments in both counties has remained consistent at about 810, she said.

The extension would not apply for new food establishments, Shelton said. It would only apply to ones permitted in 2020.