Aiken County residents are still eating at local restaurants despite Hepatitis A outbreak

Aiken County residents are still eating at local restaurants despite Hepatitis A outbreak

AIKEN (WFXG) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or DHEC, says the general public should not worry about eating out at local restaurants.

Betsy Simons, owner of Betsty’s Around the Corner, admits she was scared at first when hearing about local restaurant employees testing positive for Hepatitis A. But, she says they followed the right procedures.

“They did exactly what they should do, they self reported incidents and if anything, we need to be supportive," Simons explained.

John McMichael, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, says local businesses should still be supported.

“They’re probably some of the cleanest places in town because they’ve gone back and done due diligence to make sure things are taken care of properly, it’s a human thing not something the restaurants let happen,” McMichael said.

Though DHEC has declared a Hepatitis A outbreak, in Aiken that did not stop locals from enjoying a meal. Cherie Maivelett, who’s lived in Aiken for decades, says she was debating eating out with her husband after hearing the news. “We actually talked about it on the phone, and said are we going to brave it and go downtown? And we decided....yeah," Maivelett said.

Chaknatdra Green, an Aiken resident, says she had no fears on dining out. “This is where we from so there’s no reason for us to say ‘Oh God, we can’t eat down there.'”

Local restaurants are taking extra precaution to make sure their restaurants aren’t affected. “We just immediately went into prevention mode and became more diligent with making sure that all of our employees handle the food safely and that they practice good personal hygiene habits,” Simons said.

DHEC is recommending vaccinations for not just the people who may have been exposed, but the general population as a whole.

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