'They took a high ground'

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo. Roy Moore's Fish Shack, which closed after the state Department of Public Health warning to customers of the restaurant between April 21 and May 12 "who ate cold or uncooked food or who are unsure what they ate" to contact their health care provider about the possible exposure. A restaurant employee who worked during those dates has a confirmed case of hepatitis A.5/20/19 [[MER1905201448234245]]

ROCKPORT — Roy Moore's Fish Shack has reopened, after a nearly month-long closure following the discovery that a worker had contracted hepatitis A, which is highly infectious.

Karin and Kenny Porter, owners of Roy Moore's Fish Shack, declined to comment for this story. 

The restaurant reopened Tuesday. A June 10 post on its Facebook page announcing the return, states, "the bar will stay open later (this season) with a limited menu."

On May 17, the Dock Square restaurant was closed indefinitely when an employee contracted the bacterial infection. The state Department of Public Health issued a warning that same day to all customers who ate "uncooked food" there between April 21 and May 12.

The Porters were on their way home after an overseas vacation when they first got word of the state warning. They met with members of the Rockport Board of Health the following day.

"They took a high ground," said Dr. Sydney Wedmore, chairman of the Rockport Board of Health. "They said, 'we're just going to stay closed until the incubation period is finished and all concerns are gone.' They went beyond what the state Health Board required of them." 

To Wedmore's knowledge, there have been no reports of hepatitis A contracted by other employees or customers.

"First off, you have to appreciate what hepatitis A is and how it's transmitted depending by those circumstances," he explained. "It's a virus that's transmitted through secretions such as saliva or stool. Once the (infected) individual has left the environment, it has been cleaned as normal, and no other employees report having it, there shouldn't be any residual that's going to stay in the restaurant."

Early symptoms of hepatitis A are fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice.

It is unknown if the employee who initially had the virus has returned to work. 

Roy Moore Lobster Company, the Porters' eatery on Bearskin Neck, was not affected and had been cleared by the Board of Health to remain open.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.