Sen. Thom Tillis, (R) North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA — Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina drew national headlines Tuesday after comments regarding hand washing rules in restaurants.

Tillis made the remarks at a program in Washington that aired on C-Span.

He argued businesses should be allowed to opt out of rules like required hand washing after restroom breaks as an example of overreach by the government.

“I said I don’t have any problem with Starbucks as long as they choose to opt out of this policy, as long as they post a sign that says ‘We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom. The market will take care of that,” said Sen. Thom Tillis.

While the comment drew chuckles in Washington, some in Charlotte weren’t laughing.

“He should not say anything that nasty,” said Ruth Davis of Charlotte.

“Health is something serious and should be taken seriously,” said Justin Banks-Walker of Charlotte.

Tillis’ hand washing comments quickly drew national media attention and picked up steam with links on social media.

“The instantaneousness right now of this kind of news cycle really helps to propel things probably above and beyond to what they should be,” said Dr. Bitzer, Catawba College professor.

Bitzer said the response from Tillis’ comments, even if tongue in cheek, is proof lawmakers face potential scrutiny with every word from their mouths.

“We do fault politicians for being too scripted sometimes, but candidness can get you into some trouble,” said Dr. Bitzer.

Tillis went on to say any easing of food and beverage service rules would be disastrous.

“Now that’s probably one where every business that did that would go out of business, but I think it’s good to illustrate the point. That that’s the sort of mentality we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country,” said Sen. Tillis.