Norovirus outbreak shut down Long Beach restaurant for four days

Sky Room at Long Beach's Breakers Hotel voluntarily closed for four days after virus outbreak

An upscale Long Beach restaurant temporarily shut down last month after several patrons and employees fell ill in a norovirus outbreak, authorities said Monday.

The Sky Room voluntarily closed for four days starting May 22 in order to sanitize the restaurant and bar, located atop the Breakers Hotel near the city’s waterfront, said Nelson Kerr, manager of the city’s Environmental Health Bureau.

Between May 1 and May 9, about 18 patrons and three employees experienced symptoms similar to a norovirus infection, including nausea, abdominal pain and a low fever, Kerr said.

Three of the cases were confirmed via laboratory tests to be norovirus and the rest are considered probable cases, he said.

In response to the outbreak, the restaurant implemented an “exceptional” sanitation process in accordance with guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including steam cleaning furniture, fabrics and equipment at the restaurant and its elevator, Kerr said.

“Multiple times they sanitized the entire restaurant,” said Kerr, adding that the owner hired a consultant to train staff about hygiene and food safety.

The restaurant was closed out of an abundance of caution to fully break the virus’ transmission, Kerr said.

"It's very much safe to go there. I would eat there," Kerr said.

Norovirus causes between 19 million to 21 million illnesses each year and about 570 to 800 deaths. All those who fell ill in connection to the Sky Room outbreak have recovered, Kerr said.

Officials have not determined the source of the outbreak.

The Sky Room could not be reached for comment.

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