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NEW ALBANY — The Rally's at 401 Vincennes St. in New Albany was closed Wednesday by the Floyd County Health Department due to numerous health code violations.

During a routine inspection, a food inspector from the Floyd County Health Department temporarily closed the fast food restaurant around 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon after finding four critical violations and numerous minor violations, according to Floyd County Health Officer Dr. Tom Harris. They "felt the food service was unsafe," he said.

Harris said the restaurant will be closed until it is cleaned, and the health department will conduct the same inspection in the morning. If the issues — particularly the critical ones — are corrected, the Rally's would be allowed to reopen. If it does not pass, the health department would continue to inspect the restaurant daily for several days before possibly starting a longer inspection.

It is "highly unusual" for the health department to close a restaurant like this, particularly chains that have their own quality assurance, Harris said. It has been several years since the Floyd County Health Department has had to close a fast food franchise due to health code violations. He said if a restaurant doesn't pass inspections, the health department will generally "do its best" to keep it in business, but it has to balance that with potential health risks such as foodborne illness.

"When a restaurant fails inspection, that puts it in a higher tier," he said. "We go back to those places more often to make sure they are keeping quality up and cleanliness up — things like that. We work with the businesses, but we have to protect public safety. Even if we go in tomorrow and you can do surgery on the burger grill, it will still be on a higher tier watch list for next year."

Harris declined to provide details about the violations found at the Rally's, saying it is not the health department's policy to provide that information without a public records request.

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