A routine yearly inspection led to the closure of the Stratford House Inn on the Branson strip on Monday, Oct. 4.
Officials with the Taney County Health Department confirmed to the Branson Tri-Lakes News the shutdown of the inn, which led to the removal of all residents by Monday afternoon, was related to an issue discovered during the routine inspection of the lodging establishment for the renewal of their license.
“Our role is to keep people healthy and safe,” TCHD Director Lisa Marshall said. “If we find something that’s really bad, we can’t have people living in conditions which are not healthy and safe.”
According to the inspection report obtained by the Branson Tri-Lakes News, an inspector found a health code violation which led to the need to close the facility.
“We are working with the owner,” Marshall said. “He did voluntarily agree to close the facility and help people to relocate. It’s always great when we find an owner willing to work with us. We spoke on Friday (Oct. 1), and he decided to voluntarily close. We started working with community partners to make sure we found places for people to go so nobody was left without a home.”
Marshall said health department staff understand this can be a difficult situation for the people who are being forced to relocate on short notice.
“It’s terribly disruptive to families and we understand that,” Marshall said. “We don’t find these situations very often but when we do, we make sure to bring in community partners who can help these families and individuals find somewhere to go.”
Marshall said as far she knows, nobody was left without a place to live.
“To our knowledge, by the end of yesterday [Oct.4] our community partners had found places for people to go,” Marshall said. “They actually helped to move several families. Huge kudos to our community for being caring and our partners for jumping in on short notice and helping families.”
Marshall said sometimes people point the finger at them and think the health department is the problem because they require people to leave a facility which has a serious violation of health and safety standards.
“We sometimes get a bad rap for being the enforcers, but ultimately we take our role very seriously because we do care that people have somewhere healthy and safe to live,” Marshall said. “We’re just very happy we have partners who agree with us and can move quickly.”
Marshall said the owner will need to make necessary repairs to the facility and pass an inspection before he will be able to resume business operations.