Nassau County program could make EpiPens available for restaurant owners

Nassau County program could make EpiPens available for restaurant owners

Casey Dubofsky, who has a tree nut and fish allergy, says the idea came to her because she had a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction in a restaurant when she was 3 years old. At the time, her parents did not know she had an allergy and there was no EpiPen on hand.

Casey, her parents, and a dozen people with food allergies spoke before the Nassau County Legislature Monday to push for a bill that would create Nassau County’s first pilot program to fund EpiPens in restaurants.

“Oh my god this is a great idea. This is amazing,” says Giuseppe Cosenza, of Grace’s Marketplace & Trattoria in Greenvale, one of the restaurants approached about participating in the program. “This is something that you can comfortably come over here and having it on hand is a great thing.”

Legislator Josh Lafazan says he introduced the bill back in March and is still waiting for a vote.

“What’s more fundamental to the government than taking action to protect the lives of the constituents we serve?” says Legislature Lafazan. “Having an EpiPen in restaurants can save the life of a restaurant patron and for parents who have kids with food allergies it’s literally life or death.”

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello had a lot of questions about the cost of the program and the county’s liability.

“Is the county legally permitted to do this?” says Nicolello. “Again, we’re going to county attorney’s office to find out what attorney has to say.”

The EpiPens would cost $500 for a pair to be given out to restaurants every 18 months. The program would reimburse the restaurant owners.

Russ Lundstrum from the Coach Meeting House in Oyster Bay says he’s on board if this gets passed.

“Anything you can do to protect the customer a little more and to ensure their safety,” says Lundstrum. “I have three young children. I think of families, I think of my mom and my family. If you want to take care of them, this gives us the tools necessary to make people feel a little safer and better when they come out to eat.”

If passed, the program would also help restaurant owners train their employees on how to use EpiPens.


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