JDW pub forced to close following possible norovirus outbreak

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Closed doors: the Yorkshire pub shut earlier this week (image credit: Roger Templeman)
Closed doors: the Yorkshire pub shut earlier this week (image credit: Roger Templeman)
Pub giant JD Wetherspoon has closed the doors on one of its sites following its employees reporting symptoms “consistent with norovirus”.

The Winter Gardens in Harrogate, West Yorkshire, closed on Tuesday 18 September for deep cleaning after staff fell ill with a mystery bug, with plans to reopen at the end of the week (Friday 21 September).

The cause of the illness is unknown, however, the pub group said it was not food-related.

Winter vomiting bug

JDW spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Staff members reported symptoms that are consistent with norovirus, which is sometimes referred to as the winter vomiting bug.

“The cause of the infection is not yet known but there is no indication that it is food-related. The closure of the pub and thorough clean down is a precautionary measure as advised by local authorities and Public Health England.”

While JDW stated there was no indication the outbreak was food-related, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said poor handwashing in kitchens and overlooking other hygiene practices were contributing to the spread of dangerous food-borne bugs​ such as norovirus.

The Government body published new research carried out by specialists Ipsos Mori on preventing the spread of norovirus.

Contamination

Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious gastrointestinal disease in the UK, according to the FSA. The health body has made reducing the numbers of infection a key priority.

The virus – estimated to affect more than 3m Brits a year – can be transmitted by infected people through contaminated food and drink or even by touching a contaminated surface.

These were the most common food hygiene issues found in the research:

  • Inadequate hand washing
  • Not washing hands before gloving
  • Using bare hands when preparing food
  • Not regularly changing gloves
  • Food handlers instead of trained staff cleaning areas where people vomited
  • Not washing uniforms correctly
  • Returning to work too soon after being ill

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