Grilled burgers and French fries are now banned at bars and restaurants across the center of Blacktip Island. (photo courtesy of Famartin)
In response to a burgeoning number of clinically-obese residents, the Blacktip Island Health Authority Thursday established a ‘no-fry’ zone around many of the small Caribbean island’s restaurants and bars.
“There’s been an explosion in the number of overweight residents lately. It’s overwhelming our health system,” public health director Dr. Azul Tang said. “A lot of the obesity is due to diet and exercise. We can’t make people exercise, but we can by-God make them eat healthier.
“We banned fried food of any kind across the center of the island where most of the resorts and bars are,” Tang said. “Meals may be baked or boiled, and side dishes will be salads, fruit cups or what have you. People are squawking about it, but we’re not budging.”
The ban will be enforced via multiple methods.
“Doc Tang makes surprise visits, of course, but they’re also using webcams and mini drones,” Sand Spit bartender Cori Anders said. “There’s also cash rewards for people ratting out their friends and neighbors. It’s a scary time—no one knows who to trust. People are eating fries and chicken fingers in locked bathrooms.
“The worst are the health nuts who’ve declared themselves unofficial inspectors, with goofy sky-blue berets,” Anders said. “They see fried anything coming out of the kitchen, they’ll flat-out slap the plate out of the server’s hand. Lee Helm took a hot plate of fish and chips to the face just yesterday.”
The zone’s supporters defended their tactics.
“We’re talking about a sea change in the island’s eating habits,” activist Harry Pickett said. “It’ll hurt at first, but it’s for everyone’s good, long term. If a few diners get hit with fried food, well, they should think twice before sitting down in a food combat zone. Collateral damage is inevitable.
“They’ll soon get used to baked veggie burgers and fresh fruit. Or sautéed spinach,” Pickett said. “The restaurants should be thanking us. They’re saving a ton of money on grease and electricity, and the kitchens smell better, too.”
Many customers are not happy with the ban.
“Who the hell wants a salad and melon slices? Or mushy spinach?” Rocky Shore said. “Nobody has the right to tell me what I can eat. I didn’t eat boiled spinach in elementary school, and won’t eat it now. Blacktip’s a divemaster and construction worker island. We want divemaster and construction worker food. A burger should come with fries. Fries. And I guarantee tourists’ll stay away in droves.”
The ban has spurred an uptick in business for eateries outside the zone.
“We’ve been packed since they declared their no-fry zone,” Tail Spinner bar and grill owner Val Schrader said. “Down at the Last Ballyhoo, too. I feel bad for the resorts taking a hit, but our cash registers are ringing and we’re having to turn people away.”
The Last Ballyhoo and Tail Spinner are providing free shuttle service for resort guests desiring fried fare.