Food & Drink

Hepatitis A: Barbecue restaurant closed permanently. Here’s why.

ABCs of hepatitis: What’s the difference between A, B, C?

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. It comes in many forms, including hepatitis A, B and C. But what do those letter designations mean, and how do they differ from one another?
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Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. It comes in many forms, including hepatitis A, B and C. But what do those letter designations mean, and how do they differ from one another?

A popular barbecue restaurant has permanently closed its Cynthiana location after a former employee tested positive for hepatitis A.

David Carroll, owner of Red State BBQ, announced on Facebook that the Cynthiana location has been closed permanently. “We have made the ultimate decision to shutter the Cynthiana location for good,” he said.

About 10 employees were laid off, he said.

The original Lexington location of Red State BBQ at 4020 Georgetown Road remains open, but Carroll said he’s worried it could be impacted as well by public perception.

It’s the second big hit the Cynthiana restaurant had taken this year, following flooding in September that forced them to close for four days. Carroll opened the Cynthiana store after his Georgetown location burned down the year before.

Carroll said that he has been telling all employees to get the hepatitis A shots.

“I do want to let people know that this employee had absolutely no contact with the preparation of food, and no contact with any employee at the Lexington location,” Carroll said.

He was notified by the health department that an employee who worked as a cashier at the Cynthiana Red State BBQ from Nov. 11-21 had tested positive for hepatitis A and that notices would be posted at the restaurant and delivered to the media for publication. Ironically, the restaurant had scored 98 on an inspection on Nov. 28, according to the health department’s website.

But Carroll said the news was “just the straw that broke the camel’s back. We did everything we could in that location. ... The community embraced us for a little while, but business dropped off.”

He has advice for other restaurant owners: Get your workers vaccinated.

“It only takes one employee not practicing good hygiene for something like this to happen,” Carroll said. “In talking to some folks, the restaurant business seems to be kind of hit or miss at the moment; people don’t seem to be dining out as much right now. So something like this can be very hurtful to the industry.”

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