UPDATE: Fleming's Steakhouse Set to Reopen Friday

County health officials cleared the restaurant to open after a norovirus outbreak forced the restaurant to close on Wednesday.

UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: Fleming's Steakhouse will open Friday at 5 p.m. after getting a clean bill from the health department. 

Original Post: County health officials closed Fleming's Steakhouse in Walnut Creek Wednesday after confirming that the restaurant was the source of a norovirus outbreak that had made several diners ill earlier in the week. 

The restaurant was closed all Thursday, and health officials were investigating Friday morning to see if the restaurant could open later in the day, according to Erika Jenssen, Contra Costa Public Heath communicable disease programs chief.

Jenssen said that the department inspected Fleming's after receiving reports of illness from several people who had eaten there Monday and Tuesday. An employee at the restaurant tested positive for norovirus. 

In January, a deli in Concord was closed because of norovirus, and a school in Lafayette also suffered an outbreak of the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness. It often circulates during winter months, but can cause illness throughout the year, according to an information page on the website of Contra Costa Health Services.

Dive Turn Work February 09, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Bingo. It happens. It's happened on cruise ships with some frequency. However, I don't let that keep me from my 2 annual trips aboard a cruise ship. Life is about chances. If you want no risk, move into a bubble and never leave your home.
Patrick J. McNamara February 09, 2013 at 05:13 PM
I don't know what cheap labor you mean. My son works there and is thrilled with his job, and takes great pride in his service to guests. I wish I made the money he makes when I was 25--even adjusted for inflation. It's the kind of work that rewards on the merit system. Dive Turn Work: Good one. You just beat Hemingway's six-word story by one word.
Fleming patron February 09, 2013 at 10:50 PM
How do they know it was a guest who brought it in???? I was there Tuesday night and my friend got deathly sick!!!!!! Luckily I didn't but noted to a coworker the next morning the food didn't really agree with me. Proper handwashing is key for food service workers !!!! How could that possibly be brought in by a patron.
Patrick J. McNamara February 10, 2013 at 01:21 AM
I don't know for sure how they eliminated staff as the cause, but my guess is that staff who worked during a given time frame are identifiable and tested by the health department, and so, easily eliminated or identified as a possible source of the virus. What happened at Fleming's is no different than if I showed up to your house party with the flu, coughed on my hands and touched all of your doorknobs. Other guests in your home would inevitably contract the virus. When the outbreak was reported at Fleming's, they took the initiative to throw away just about anything that could not be bleached and power washed, and scoured every square inch of the restaurant, from head to toe with disinfectant, as well as replaced their entire food inventory. They can't control the state of health of those who enter their restaurant, but I'd be willing to bet that Fleming's is currently more sterile than a hospital.
lovelafayette February 11, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Noro viruses requires discarding any food prepared or served by patient, quarantine, sanitize dishes and linens, handwashing, chlorine bleach based cleaning product left on hard surfaces for one minute. NO food handling if you know you have been exposed/ during symptom phase/continued for 3 days after all symptoms are gone. The virus can be spread by someone with no symptoms, so knowing if staff or customer was the Fleming's index case is not possible. Norovirus is not an indicator of an unclean restaurant, it literally could be one customer who touched one door knob once! I have always been surprised that restaurants are not required to have seperate staff bathrooms, this is not a respiratory virus but gets on hands and airborne from vomit and feces. The sick leave, disinfection and lost business is a huge expense for any restaurant. I agree with Patrick, this is as clean as this restaurant will ever be! Take home message : SICK? STAY HOME FOR THE ENTIRE QUARANTINE period, and keep your bugs out of schools and businesses!


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