Food Safety News

Halifax restaurants back in business after suspected norovirus outbreak Read more:

Campus Administrator
Halifax restaurants back in business after suspected norovirus outbreak Read more:
by Campus Administrator - Tuesday, 28 August 2012, 10:20 AM

CTV Atlantic
Published Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 6:33PM ADT

A suspected norovirus outbreak doesn’t seem to have stolen business away from The Bicycle Thief. The popular Halifax restaurant re-opened today after a four-day voluntary closure and it was packed at lunchtime.

“It was tremendous, I just had my meal with a glass of wine and it was wonderful, glad to see the restaurant back open,” says customer Peter McDonough.

A recent gastrointestinal virus outbreak closed both The Bicycle Thief and Ristorante a Mano after at least 26 staff and customers reported feeling ill on the weekend.

The virus likely originated on a cruise ship, the Carnival Glory, which docked in Halifax on Aug. 9 with dozens of sick passengers onboard.

Businesses along the waterfront say they weren’t made aware of the norovirus outbreak onboard the boat and Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, says more needs to be done to prevent another outbreak from happening in the future.

“(We are) reviewing timelines and protocol of when an onboard illness is communicated, to what authorities and how this information gets passed to the public and business community,” says Stewart.

According to Health Canada, illness onboard a ship is only reported and investigated when three per cent or more of the total passengers and crew are ill.

Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed of Capital Health says while there is some dispute over how many people were sick, the severity of the illness is more important than the numbers.

“Health Canada would be after the same objectives we’d be after here in local health, just making sure it’s not something more than norovirus,” says Watson-Creed.

Currently, there are 53 reports of people having norovirus-like symptoms in the Halifax area. Those who are sick say they fell ill between Aug. 14 and Aug. 18.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Alyse Hand