Health department closes Westport restaurant after people report - KCTV5 News

Health department closes Westport restaurant after people report getting sick following catered events

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A longtime, upscale Westport restaurant is closed following reports of almost 50 people getting sick after attending two different events catered by Californos.

The health department is only a quarter of the way through interviewing everyone who was at those events.

People, especially those with events scheduled, want to know when they will reopen.

The health department notice on the door gives no suggestion. They did say that the restaurant staff can’t fix the problem until health officials know what it is, so it could be a while.

The local, family-owned restaurant has a catering space in the back, and that’s where one of the events happened. The other happened offsite with food catered by the staff. Both events were on March 31.

The health department said they began investigating when someone who got sick contacted them. An inspection on April 4 found 10 critical violations.

Officials also got a hold of the guest lists and are in the process of contacting all 400 attendees. So far, they’ve interviewed 70, and 70 percent of them said they experienced vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps.

None of them got so sick that they went to the hospital.

Finding the probable cause will take time, for various reasons. One of which is getting the interviews.

“You can imagine the time it takes to talk to 400 folks, which may have had only a phone number or an email,” said Dr. Rex Archer, KCMO Medical Director. “They may be out of town or you may not even have any of those, and you have to contact somebody else to find out how to contact them.”

The restaurant has been tweeting with the hashtag “#SaveCalifornos,” seeking a clear answer on when they will reopen.

The health department director said calling them to put on pressure will only slow the process, tying up phone lines essential for taking return calls on people they need to interview.

They are getting help from other local health departments and the state to move that process along as quickly as possible.

It is worth noting that no one has reported getting sick at the restaurant itself, just at the two catered events.

Past annual inspections dating back seven years showed few violations; usually zero and no more than one critical violation.

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