53 sick; Halifax restaurants back in business after suspected norovirus outbreak

CTV News reports 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.

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.


Passengers ill with Norovirus when ship docked in Halifax: Carnival Cruises

The Nova Scotia restaurant now linked to 38 cases of norovirus was absolutely right to shut down at the first signs of illness – even if the blame may ultimately lie with a cruise ship.

Global News reports that on August 11, officials with the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) boarded the Carnival Glory cruise ship after it docked at the Port of New York.

The Carnival Cruise liner reportedly had 215 people on board who had fallen ill during its five-day voyage from the Big Apple to Halifax, with stops in Boston and Saint John along the way.

All told 4.5 per cent of the combined 4796 people aboard had reported being ill.

The Carnival Cruise Glory is being linked to 38 reported illnesses in Halifax, stemming from a popular waterfront restaurant.

The Bicycle Thief, just metres away from the Halifax Seaport, shut its doors Saturday after staff and customers fell ill with Norovirus-like symptoms.

Carnival Cruises states it took the correct measures to stop the spread of what it says was a Norovirus outbreak.

In a statement, the company says ill passengers were required to stay on board while berthed in Halifax Aug. 9 – nine days before The Bicycle Thief temporarily shut down. The restaurant reopened Wednesday morning.

Restaurant in Nova Scotia quickly closes after reports of norovirus

While details remain slim, it appears a Nova Scotia restaurant did what celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal didn’t: close at the first sign of illness.

And contact health types.

Harbourfront restaurant The Bicycle Thief temporarily shut its doors Saturday evening as “a precautionary step” after learning that several staff and customers were showing norovirus symptoms, owner Stephanie Bertossi said in a news release.

The restaurant will reopen at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

“Individuals who had symptoms reported feeling better within 12 hours,” said Bertossi.

“As soon as we became aware that some staff were ill, we contacted the Department of Agriculture to advise of the situation and they have been exemplary in working with us to ensure the well-being of our customers and staff,” said Bertossi.

“At our request, an inspector from the Department of Agriculture will be at the restaurant Monday.”