Vancouver's Craft Beer Market has been cleared to reopen after two members of staff and six customers reported symptoms of norovirus, also known as Norwalk or stomach flu.
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Vancouver Coastal Health first received reports of illness in six Craft customers on Wednesday morning, and upon visiting the restaurant in Olympic Village, discovered two staff members had shown the same symptoms.
Craft, located at West 1st Avenue at Salt Street, was issued with a temporary closure notice immediately, to allow for cleaning and sanitizing the whole establishment and discarding any potentially contaminated food.
In a press release issued on Thursday, owner and operator Scott Frank said the restaurant reopened at 11 a.m. PT, after meeting with Vancouver Coastal Health Thursday morning and being fully cleared to reopen.
"CRAFT Beer Market has worked diligently with VCH to ensure all necessary steps have been made to ensure our guest safety," said Frank.
"CRAFT’s focus throughout this process has been the health and safety of our guests and staff."
According to the company, one staff member was sent home on Sunday after falling ill, while the other felt sick before work on Tuesday, but improved during the day.
After being served with the closure notice, Frank said, the restaurant used a bleach and water mix to clean all surfaces, including floors, walls and chairs. All plates, glasses and cutlery were also cleaned.
Vancouver Coastal Health is still working to determine the cause of the norovirus-like illness.
"We encourage anyone who has questions or concerns to contact Vancouver Coastal Health directly," said Frank.
Spread by sharing food
Norovirus — once known as Norwalk virus or stomach flu — is highly contagious and often spreads in places like schools, cruise ships and nursing homes, especially during the winter.
The stomach bug causes bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within 24 to 48 hours of exposure and last 24 to 48 hours.
Norovirus can be spread by sharing food or cutlery with an infected person or by touching objects contaminated with the virus.
There are no drugs to treat norovirus itself, although it is important to drink lots of fluids to guard against dehydration.
Vancouver Coastal Health recommends anyone handling food and experiencing stomach illness with vomiting and/or diarrhea should not return to work until they have been symptom free for three days.