A suspected outbreak of norovirus at an Exeter carvery restaurant is believed to have affected large numbers of people across the city as well as visitors and holidaymakers. Newspaper reports claim the number of people who may have been affected could be in excess of 100. The restaurant and hotel temporarily closed on Tuesday April 7th after an investigation was launched led by Environmental Health.
Concerns have also been expressed that the venue failed to close sooner and remained open over the Easter weekend. It has been confirmed that staff became aware that a customer had been suffering from norovirus on Wednesday April 1st and a ‘steam clean’ was subsequently carried out in the restaurant and pub on the Thursday after it closed, but normal trading continued over the Easter bank holiday – one of the busiest trading periods of the year. On Tuesday April 7th the restaurant issued a statement on its website announcing the voluntary closure of the restaurant and adjoining hotel until further notice.
Of those affected, one person claimed to have required hospitalisation and countless others reported battling with unpleasant sickness and diarrhoea for many days. Around 24 staff members at an animal shelter on the outskirts of the city claimed to have become ill following a staff meal at the restaurant on March 31st, leaving the charity with worrying low staff numbers.
The noroviruses are the most common cause of foodborne illness in the UK and once the virus gets into a business it is very difficult to get rid of it, due to its mode of transmission and general recalcitrance to common disinfectants; specialist advice and protocols are required. For more information on the noroviruses or a free copy of our brilliant (though we say it ourselves) poster please don’t hesitate to get in contact.