CHAPTER 16. PUBLIC HEALTH.
WVC 16 - 6 -
ARTICLE 6. HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS.
WVC 16 - 6 - 1
Acts, 1977 Reg. Sess., Ch. 102.
WVC 16 - 6 - 2
§16-6-2. Regulations by state board of health; enforcement of
orders and laws respecting pure food.
The West Virginia board of health shall make such rules and
regulations, not inconsistent with law, as in their judgment are
necessary to carry out the provisions of this article. The
director of the state department of health shall enforce any orders
made by the board of health and any laws of the state respecting
pure food, so far as they relate to hotels and restaurants.
WVC 16 - 6 - 3
§16-6-3. Hotel and restaurant defined; hotels and restaurants not
subject to provisions of article.
For the purpose of this article, every building where food
and lodging are usually furnished to guests and payment required
therefor shall be deemed a hotel, and every place where food
without lodging is usually furnished to guests and payment
required therefor shall be deemed a restaurant. But the
provisions of this article, except those of sections twenty and
twenty-two, shall not apply to any hotel wherein there are fewer
than ten bed chambers, nor to any hotel known as a "summer hotel"
which is not open for guests from November fifteenth to May
fifteenth. The provisions of this article shall not apply to
temporary food sales, not exceeding two weeks in length, by
religious, educational, charitable or nonprofit organizations.
WVC 16 - 6 - 4
§16-6-4. Application for inspection of hotel or restaurant;
temporary permit; certificate of inspection; fee.
Every person, firm or corporation proposing to operate a
hotel or restaurant shall apply to the director of health for an
inspection and certificate thereof, and said inspector shall
inspect the premises described in such application as soon
thereafter as may be practicable; but if it be impracticable to
do so within ten days after receiving such application, said
director may issue to such applicant a temporary permit which
shall be valid until a regular inspection is made. Only one
certificate or permit shall be issued where a hotel and
restaurant are combined and operated in the same building and
under the same management. Each certificate or permit shall
expire on the thirtieth day of June next following its issuance,
and no hotel or restaurant shall be maintained and operated in
this state without the certificate of inspection thereof as
herein prescribed, which certificate shall be posted in the main
public room of such hotel or restaurant, and shall show the date
of each inspection and the notations relating thereto by the
director of health. No such certificate shall be transferable.
The fee for such inspection and certificate or permit shall be,
for a hotel, two dollars, and twenty-five cents additional for
each bedroom in excess of seven; and for a restaurant, two
dollars, and twenty-five cents additional for each five chairs or
stools, or spaces where persons are fed, in excess of ten, but no
fee shall exceed ten dollars. Such director shall, on the first
of each month, pay into the state treasury all fees collected for inspections during the preceding month. Every certificate of
inspection or permit under this article shall be made and issued
WVC 16 - 6 - 5
§16-6-5. Form and content of application for inspection; payment
The applicant for inspection of a hotel or restaurant shall
file with the department of health a written application, in form
to be prescribed by the director of health, which shall set forth
the name and address of the owner of the building or property to
be occupied, and of the agent of any such owner; the name and
address of the lessee and manager, if any, of the hotel or
restaurant; the location of such hotel or restaurant and a full
description of the building or property to be occupied and such
other matters as may be required by the director of health. The
fee for inspection shall be paid to the director of health when
the application is filed by him.
WVC 16 - 6 - 6
§16-6-6. Contents of certificate and permit; posting.
Every such certificate shall show that the hotel or
restaurant is equipped and conducted according to law, and shall
be kept posted in some conspicuous place in such hotel or
restaurant. Every such permit shall show, according to the fact,
why it is granted, and that the hotel or restaurant is, according
to law, permitted to be kept, and it shall be kept posted in like
WVC 16 - 6 - 7
§16-6-7. Certificate or permit prerequisite to license.
No license to keep a hotel or restaurant, or certificate for
such license, shall hereafter be authorized or issued unless
there be first filed with the county commission to which
application therefor is made, a certificate of inspection or
permit, granted by the director of health, as provided in this
article. Every such license shall bear on its face a reference
to such certificate of inspection or permit.
WVC 16 - 6 - 8
§16-6-8. Annual inspection of hotels and restaurants; powers and
duties of director of health.
The director of health shall inspect or cause to be
inspected, at least once annually, every hotel and restaurant in
the state. For that purpose he, or any person designated by him,
shall have the right of entry and access at any reasonable time
to inspect kitchens where food is prepared, pantry and storage
rooms pertaining thereto, dining rooms, lunch counters, and every
place where articles pertaining to the serving of the public are
kept or prepared. The said director shall prohibit the use of
any article not in keeping with cleanliness and good sanitary
conditions. He shall also have the right to enter any and all
parts of a hotel at all reasonable hours to make such inspection,
and every person in the management or control thereof shall
afford free access to every part of the hotel and render all
assistance necessary to enable the director to make full,
thorough and complete examination thereof, but the privacy of any
guest in any room occupied by him shall not be invaded without
WVC 16 - 6 - 9
§16-6-9. Alterations and changes by owner; penalty for refusal
or failure to make.
Whenever, upon such inspection, it shall be found that any
such hotel or restaurant is not equipped or operated in the
manner and under the conditions required by the provisions of
this article, the director of health shall notify the owner,
manager or agent in charge of such hotel or restaurant of such
changes or alterations as, in the judgment of the director, may
be necessary to effect a complete compliance with said
provisions. Such owner, manager or agent shall thereupon make
such alterations or changes as may be necessary to put such
buildings and premises in a condition, and operate it in a
manner, that will fully comply with the requirements of this
That due time after receiving such notice
shall be allowed for conforming to the requirements thereof,
which time shall be specified in the notice. Should the changes
or alterations directed by such notice not be made in the time
specified therein, the said director shall proceed against the
person or persons in default in any court having jurisdiction to
enforce the provisions of this article against him or them. Every
person, firm or corporation which shall fail or refuse to comply
with the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined five
dollars for each and every day such failure or refusal may
continue. If such failure or refusal shall continue for thirty
days after the time specified in the notice from the director for
conforming to the requirements thereof, the director may proceed in the circuit court of the county wherein such hotel or
restaurant is located, for an order closing it. After such order
is issued, the building or property shall not again be used as a
hotel or restaurant until a certificate or permit therefor shall
have been issued by the director, and any disobedience of such
order may be punished as other contempts of court. Reasonable
notice shall be given of the application for such order.
WVC 16 - 6 - 10
§16-6-10. Notices by director of health.
All notices given under this article shall be in writing and
shall either be delivered in person or sent by registered mail.
WVC 16 - 6 - 11
§16-6-11. Lighting; plumbing; ventilation.
Every hotel and restaurant in this state shall be properly
lighted by day and by night, shall be properly plumbed and
ventilated, and shall be conducted in every department with
strict regard for the health, comfort and safety of its guests.
Such proper plumbing and draining shall be done and maintained
according to approved sanitary principles. Such proper
ventilation shall be construed to require at least one door and
one window in every sleeping room, which window shall permit easy
access to the outside of the building, light well or court. No
room shall be used as a sleeping room which does not open to the
outside of the building or light wells, air shafts or courts.
WVC 16 - 6 - 12
§16-6-12. Water closets.
In every city, town or village where a system of waterworks
and sewerage is maintained for public use, every hotel therein
shall be equipped with suitable water closets for the
accommodation of guests, which water closets shall be connected
by proper plumbing with such sewer system, and so constructed
that they may be flushed with water in such manner as to prevent
sewer gas or effluvia arising therefrom. All lavatories,
bathtubs, sinks, drains, closets and urinals in such hotels shall
be furnished and equipped in similar manner.
WVC 16 - 6 - 13
In all cities, towns and villages not having a system of
waterworks and sewerage, every hotel shall have properly
constructed privies or vaults to receive the night soil, which
privies and vaults shall be kept clean and well-screened at all
times and free from filth of every kind. The privies shall have
separate compartments for each sex, each compartment being
WVC 16 - 6 - 14
§16-6-14. Washrooms; towels.
All hotels in this state shall be provided with a general
washroom convenient and of easy access to guests, and in each
bedroom and general washroom there shall be furnished for each
registered guest clean, individual towels, of cotton or linen, so
that no two or more registered guests will be required to use the
same towel, unless it has first been washed. Such individual
towel shall not be less than twelve inches wide and eighteen
inches long after being washed.
WVC 16 - 6 - 15
§16-6-15. Beds and floor coverings.
Every hotel shall provide each bed, bunk, cot, or other
sleeping place for the use of guests with pillow slips and under
and top sheets, the under sheet to be of sufficient size to
completely cover the mattress and springs, and the top sheet to
be of like width and at least ninety-nine inches long and not to
be less than ninety inches in length after having been laundered.
Such sheets and pillow slips shall be made of white cotton or
linen, and all such sheets and pillow slips, after being used by
one guest, shall be washed and ironed before being used by
another guest, a clean set being furnished each succeeding guest.
All bedding, including mattresses, quilts, blankets, pillows, and
all carpets and floor covering used in any hotel in this state,
shall be thoroughly aired, disinfected and kept clean.
WVC 16 - 6 - 16
In every hotel, any room infected with vermin or bedbugs
shall be fumigated, disinfected and renovated until said vermin
or bedbugs are extirpated.
WVC 16 - 6 - 17
§16-6-17. Employment of person having communicable disease.
No person, firm or corporation engaged in conducting a hotel
or a restaurant shall knowingly have in its employ any person who
has an infectious or communicable disease.
WVC 16 - 6 - 18
§16-6-18. Disinfection of rooms and beds; penalty.
Every person keeping or conducting a hotel shall see that
every room or bed, which has been occupied by any person known to
have an infectious or communicable disease at the time of such
occupancy, is thoroughly disinfected by methods to be prescribed
by the West Virginia board of health before such room or bed
shall be occupied by any other person. Any person violating the
provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine not
exceeding three hundred dollars, and to confinement in jail not
exceeding six months, or both, at the discretion of the court.
WVC 16 - 6 - 19
§16-6-19. Hallways; fire escapes.
Whenever it shall be proposed to erect a building three
stories or more in height, intended for use as a hotel in this
state, it shall be the duty of the owner or proprietor of such
hotel to construct the same so that one main hallway on each
floor above the ground floor shall run to an opening in the
outside wall of the building. Every building used as a hotel
shall comply with the provisions of this code pertaining to fire
escapes. All fire escapes shall be indicated by a red light and
a placard in each hallway leading to such fire escapes.
WVC 16 - 6 - 20
§16-6-20. Knotted rope or other fire escape in rooms;
Each keeper of a hotel in this state shall provide and keep
constantly in each room of the hotel, above the second floor, a
knotted rope, wire ladder or other proper fire escape of
sufficient strength and length, strongly attached or fastened to
some outside window in said room, by which any person or persons
in any of the rooms in such buildings may escape from the windows
in case of fire: Provided,
That the provisions of this section
shall not apply to any hotel that has a regular and proper fire
escape, connected with each hall in said hotel.
WVC 16 - 6 - 21
§16-6-21. Fire extinguishers.
Every hotel shall be provided with one fire extinguisher, of
style and size approved by the national board of fire
underwriters, on each floor containing twenty-five hundred square
feet of floor area; and one additional fire extinguisher on each
floor for each additional twenty-five hundred square feet of
floor area, or fraction thereof. Every such extinguisher shall be
placed in a convenient location in the public hallway, outside of
sleeping rooms, at or near the head of stairs, and shall always
be in condition for use.
WVC 16 - 6 - 22
§16-6-22. Liability of hotel or restaurant keeper for loss of
property; deposit of valuables.
It shall be the duty of the keepers of hotels and
restaurants to exercise due care and diligence in providing
honest servants and employees, and to take every reasonable
precaution to protect the persons and property of their guests
and boarders, but no such keeper of any hotel or restaurant shall
be held liable in a greater sum than two hundred and fifty
dollars for the loss of any wearing apparel, baggage or other
property, not hereinafter mentioned, belonging to a guest or
boarder, when such loss takes place from the room or rooms
occupied by said guest or boarder; and no keeper of a hotel or
restaurant shall be held liable for any loss on the part of any
guest or boarder of jewelry, money or other valuables of like
nature, provided such keeper shall have posted in a conspicuous
place in the room or rooms occupied by such guest or boarder, and
in the hotel office and public reception room of such hotel or
restaurant, a notice stating that jewelry, money and other
valuables of like nature must be deposited in the office of such
hotel (or restaurant), unless such loss shall take place from
such office after such deposit.
WVC 16 - 6 - 22 A
§16-6-22a. Sulfite use warning.
Any establishment regulated pursuant to this article utilizing
sulfites as a preservative on salad bars shall prominently display
a public notice in the following words:
"NOTICE TO PERSONS USING SALAD BAR: This establishment
applies sulfites as a preservative on items in the salad bar."
The state director of health is responsible for administering
this section. He may delegate the duties to any county boards of
health or combined local boards of health.
The state health department shall publish standards for such
notices, assuring a uniform size and color of the notices to be
purchased by the owner of any such establishment.
WVC 16 - 6 - 23
Any person, firm or corporation who shall operate a hotel or
a restaurant in this state, or who shall let a building to be
used for such purposes, without first having complied with the
provisions of this article, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and,
upon conviction thereof, shall be fined five dollars for each day
such failure to comply shall continue.
WVC 16 - 6 - 24
The prosecuting attorney of each county in this state is
hereby authorized and required, upon complaint under oath of the
director of health, or other person or persons, to prosecute to
termination before any court of competent jurisdiction, in the
name of the state, a proper action or proceeding against any
person or persons violating the provisions of this article.
WVC 16 - 6 - 25
Acts, 1988 Reg. Sess., Ch. 66.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session