22 Aug 2014
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California Pizza Kitchen Reopens After Norovirus Cleansing

The downtown Walnut Creek restaurant opens its doors again just a few days after it was closed due to the norovirus

California Pizza Kitchen Reopens After Norovirus Cleansing

has reopened its doors after a quick scrubbing down following an outbreak of norovirus.

The popular downtown restaurant reopened at 3 p.m. Saturday, said regional manager Chris Hedges.

A cleaning crew that specializes in norovirus was brought in Saturday morning and Contra Costa County health officials inspected the facility that same day, said Hedges.

The regional manager said the company was "very pro-active" about getting the restaurant open again.

He said business has been good since the restaurant reopened Saturday. The eatery was indeed half full at 2 p.m. Monday.

Hedges said some customers probably weren't aware of the closure while others were happy about the reopening.

"It's great to get the support of the community and our customers who realize that accidents sometimes happen," said Hedges.

The pizza restaurant closed abruptly Thursday evening after tests by county health officials revealed the presence of norovirus. Three employees and two customers tested positive for the disease.

One Walnut Creek family wrote to Patch, saying they became ill after eating at California Pizza Kitchen on Friday, June 9. They reported their illnesses to the county health department the following Thursday.

Dr. Marilyn Underwood, the county's environmental health director, said they've received reports from 60 people now who said they became sick after eating at California Pizza Kitchen. The victims ate at the restaurant between June 7 and June 13.

Underwood said her department gave the go-ahead to reopen after the restaurant staff cleaned the facility on Friday and the specialty company scrubbed it down on Saturday.

She said her department also trained three restaurant employees on norovirus awareness and cleaning. Only those three staff members were allowed to work on Saturday.

Another dozen employees were trained over the weekend. A training in Spanish will be held on Wednesday. Only employees who've gone through the training will be allowed to return to work.

Underwood said California Pizza Kitchen will be on probation for one year. County health officials will make additional surprise inspections during that time period.

On Monday evening, California Pizza Kitchen released the following statement.

“In full cooperation with the Environmental Health Division of the Contra Costa County Health Services Department, California Pizza Kitchen in Walnut Creek took swift and comprehensive action to address this isolated incident.  We partnered with an accredited sanitation company to complete a rigorous cleansing to protect and ensure the health and safety of our patrons.  The Health Services Department provided additional training to our entire team Saturday morning and we were pleased to learn we had been cleared to reopen the restaurant Saturday afternoon. The safety and welfare of our customers and employees is of the utmost importance to us and we remain committed to ensuring that California Pizza Kitchen delivers the best possible dining experience to our guests.” – Kim Boerema, Chief Operations Officer, California Pizza Kitchen

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