Frequently Asked Questions - Licensed Facilities

  1. Do I need a license to operate my business?

    Any person operating a restaurant, retail food establishment, beverage establishment (tavern), hotel, motel, bed and breakfast establishment, tourist room house, public swimming pool, whirlpool, campground, recreational camp, or tattoo and body piercing establishment in the state of Wisconsin must first obtain a license.

  2. How do I obtain a license for a facility in Washington County?

    1. Complete the appropriate application form or Temporary Food Permit application form , as applicable.
    2. Submit the application and fee.
    3. For a new establishment, also call (262) 365-5878 to schedule a pre-inspection.

    4. All for-profit food stands that operate in Washington County must obtain a permit from the Washington County Health Department. WCHD will not accept temporary permits from DHS or from other jurisdictions. A WCHD permit allows the licensee to operate at a special event or celebration such as a fair, carnival, circus, public exhibition, farmers market, or anniversary sale. The permit allows operation at a fixed location for up to 14 consecutive days and not more than 20 non-consecutive days. Within these limits, the permit covers any event that the operator wishes to participate in within the license year.

      Not-for-profit organizations serving food at a temporary stand do not require a permit unless they operate the stand for more than 3 days in a license year.

      Park and Recreation Departments with concession stands are required to have a temporary food stand permit. The exception would be if the Park and Rec Department's concession stand serves meals that are operated exclusively for the benefit of youth sport teams, programs or governing youth sports organizations. If you operate adult and youth leagues you need to obtain a temporary food stand permit.
      How much will it cost?

      • Pre-Inspection Fees
        A pre-inspection fee is required prior to approval of a license -- this is a one time charge.  A pre-inspection is required when a new establishment is opened or when there is a change of ownership of an existing establishment.  Please refer to the code that is appropriate to your establishment.

      • Annual Fees
        All Washington County Health Department permits expire each June 30th.  Health permits run from July 1 to June 30 -- fees are not pro-rated. Each permit issued under this chapter expires on June 30, except that a permit initially issued during the period beginning on April 1 and ending on June 30 expires on June 30 if the following year.  Please refer to the code that is appropriate to your establishment.

    5. What are the criteria for needing a reinspection?

      Reinspection Criteria

    6. What are the license fees?
      License fees in Washington County are identical to the fees set by Wisconsin statute. Please refer to the appropriate code for your type of establishment.

    7. What if I have a safety concern about a licensed establishment?
      Contact the Washington County Health Department about your concern at 262-335-4462.

    For more information on requirements of a food service licensed facility refer to the Food Service Requirements  document or call 262-335-4462.