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Jerusalem Shawarma rolls out mandatory staff sick leave following norovirus outbreak

Jason Herring

December 24, 2019

December 25, 2019 4:32 PM MST

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Edmonton Sun


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The Jerusalem Shawarma restaurant on 16th Avenue N.W., one of four chain locations linked to a norovirus outbreak.Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

A local shawarma chain is introducing new measures to combat the spread of illness after being linked to an outbreak of norovirus last week.

Jerusalem Shawarma is ramping up its food safety protocol after Alberta Health Services said the restaurant chain was linked to an outbreak of norovirus that left 123 people ill after eating food from the restaurant.

“Jerusalem Shawarma has now implemented enhanced policies, with enhanced staff training and a new system to ensure their compliance,” read a news release from the chain on Tuesday.

The restaurant says it has introduced a “seasonal illness prevention plan,” which will include mandatory sick leave for staff, an internal system for reporting and investigating complaints related to illness, staff training and appointing an independent body to ensure compliance with restaurant policy.

AHS inspectors completed 27 investigations of Jerusalem Shawarma restaurants over a 12-day period this month. They linked norovirus to four of the chain’s 10 Calgary locations and identified some areas of concern surrounding food storage and preparation.

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No restaurants were closed as a result of AHS inspections.

The popular Calgary chain says they’ve been operating at a reduced capacity over the past few weeks as they roll out the changes. They add that they’ve “made immediate management personnel changes” and that they hope to return to business as usual shortly.

“We would like to thank our customers and Alberta Health Services for working with us during this period, and anticipate business returning to normal,” the restaurant said in the news release.