State of New York Shuts Down Kid's Lemonade Stand Aug 25, 2018 16:16:13 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Aug 25, 2018 16:16:13 GMT -5
State of New York Shuts Down Kid's Lemonade Stand
Terrified of competition from a 7-year-old boy operating a makeshift lemonade stand, a group of vendors at the Saratoga County Fair in upstate Ballston Spa whined to a state health inspector that the child had no permit to sell refreshments from his family’s front porch just outside the fairgrounds. As a kid, he was also undercutting the vendors’ pricey drinks by almost 90 percent, selling lemonade for a mere 75 cents, instead of the $7 per cup charged inside the fairgrounds. He was also selling Sno-cones, sodas and bottled water at $1 each.
On Friday, July 27, a state health inspector showed up at the home and announced soon-to-be second-grader Brendan Mulvaney was breaking the law because he didn’t have a permit to sell refreshments and promptly shut down the stand.
The family was shocked. “We didn’t know that we needed one,” Jodi Mulvaney, Brendan’s mom, said. “It didn’t even cross our minds.”
Initially, officials couldn’t explain what happened because the Department of Health doesn’t regulate lemonade stands. The state agency – which conducts food inspections in much of upstate New York – even issued a public apology “for any inconvenience.” Spokeswoman Jill Montag told The Albany Times-Union: “We are working to better understand the situation, but in the meantime want to assure the community that DOH does not issue permits for or oversee lemonade stands.”
The Mulvaneys thought all was well, but hours later, the bureaucrats did an about-face and declared a permit was indeed required, even for a stand operated from the porch. “In the opinion of the inspector, the lemonade stand was in line with vendors inside the fair. He did not see any child,” DOH spokesman Gary Holmes explained. “I have zero interest in creating conflict with a family and certainly not a cute little kid. It’s not about big government overreach; it’s about ensuring safe conditions.”
Sean Mulvaney, Brendan’s dad, was livid. “Yesterday, they issue an apology and today I need a permit,” he fumed.
The permit costs $30 and is good for a year. Holmes said the DOH would expedite any application from the Mulvaneys.
The reversal left Brendan’s mom and dad frustrated, especially considering the stand had been operating for three years without incident. “We’re just going to sit down as a family and figure out what we’re going to do here,” Jodi told reporters. “It’s just what we did. It’s America.”
Republican State Sen. Jim Tedisco visited the Mulvaney home Sunday afternoon and announced the state government had gone haywire. “There’s nothing that says America more than apple pie and kids running lemonade stands,” he declared. “What has our state government come to?”
Tedisco immediately introduced “Brendan’s Lemon-Aid Law” in the state senate, a law that would exempt lemonade stand operators under the age of 16 from health department regulations. “When I was a kid, probably half the people here had lemonade stands in front of their homes,” he said. “Nobody ever complained. Nobody ever got sick or died from the lemonade stand.”
By Saturday, August 18, the young entrepreneur was back in business and raked in $946 to benefit a local 12-year-old battling a rare bone disease. His sour experience behind him, Brendan told The Times he was happy to be back in business and plans on doing the same thing again next summer. “It’s important to people to have something that is delicious,” he added.
Sources: Aaron Feis, The New York Post, August 19, 2018, and Nolan Hicks, The New York Post, July 30, 2018.