Palm City restaurant goes beyond safety requirements during Hepatitis A outbreak

Mayas Mexican Bar and Grill.PNG
Palm City restaurant goes beyond safety requirements during Hepatitis A outbreak (WPEC)

The Florida Department of Health in Martin County is working to make sure restaurants are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A.

Maya’s Grill along Martin Downs Boulevard in Palm City is going beyond the requirements.

Employer Joel Santiago says they have superior safety measures in place, but have increased them after learning about the deadly outbreak.

Health alert posters from the health department in Martin County are up to remind workers to thoroughly sanitize their hands and the kitchen throughout the day.

“It’s new for us because it never happened here,” Santiago said.

Since the outbreak scare, Santiago says many of his staff members got the Hepatitis A vaccine.

“Right now, it’s running out. We went to Walgreens," he said. "They don’t have anymore. So, we have to go to Stuart, sometimes Port St. Lucie or Fort Pierce.”

All food handlers routinely wear gloves, making the risk of transmission extremely low.

“The dishwasher girl wears gloves because sometimes they get a cut," Santiago said.

Staffers are constantly washing their hands since the illness is spread by improper hand washing.

“Sometimes you have food in your hands, so you have to wash your hands when you come outside,” Santiago said.

Santiago says every employee must check in with the manager on duty before and after every shift to ensure they do not have any symptoms.

Restaurants inspections are done by the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulations.

A spokeswoman tells CBS12 News the state is aware of the Hepatitis A situation and are on high alert for any clues that may indicate sick workers or poor workplace hygiene.

“We try to make sure everyone is safe and healthy,” Santiago said.