A second confirmed case of hepatitis A in Airdrie in the last month is certainly not welcome news, especially for local restaurants.
The possibility of exposure to the virus is unsettling, and these alerts do serve an important purpose; however, that does not mean Airdronians should stop eating out. These incidents do occur, that is just a reality of life, but to shun a restaurant after they have been cleared by Alberta Health Services is short-sighted and incredibly damaging to the business and the employees working there, not to mention the impact to the local economy.
Judging from what we heard from Zenbu owner Eliz Jung, the establishment has received major backlash and hurtful comments since the July 10 alert was issued. On our initial Facebook post, when the release was received, a commenter asked if exposure was due to intravenous drug use – talk about jumping to conclusions.
The fact of the matter is, the employee likely did not realize he had contracted the virus – according to the World Health Organization, hepatitis has an incubation period of 14 to 28 days – and Jung said when symptoms did appear, they were mild and similar to those of a common cold.
While we understand the knee-jerk reactions, it is important to remember AHS inspected the restaurant and cleared it to reopen. If we were going to eat anywhere, a recently AHS-approved, sanitized site seems like a safe bet. And supporting an established local business in its time of need doesn’t sound like a horrible idea, either.