Fayette Mall food court closes as health department receives 150 illness reports

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department says it has received more reports of illnesses stemming from the Fayette Mall food court.

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Fayette Mall announced it is closing the food court as a result of the reported illnesses out of an abundance of caution. The health department recommended it closed.

The health department says more than 150 reports of illnesses are known at this time, but it is unsure what the actual cause of the illness is. Officials believe it is related to a stomach bug because of the symptoms.

"These are folks who got sick relatively quickly after eating there," health department commissioner Dr. Kraig Humbaugh said.

This comes as the Fayette Mall Chick-fil-A closed late last week after a large number of employees called in sick. The restaurant was expected to re-open Monday, but it remains closed.

"Last Thursday, we voluntarily closed our restaurant at Fayette Mall as soon as multiple employees reported being ill. At the same time, we proactively notified the health department and brought in a third party to perform an intense cleaning of the restaurant," operator Tyler Bruce said.

The health department did not say if other restaurants were affected, but it is now investigating the entire food court in an effort to make sure the public is safe. It received multiple reports from people who say they got sick.

Chick-fil-A self-closed its restaurant Friday and went through a deep-cleaning protocol. It also requested the health department to inspect the restaurant before it re-opens.

"While we are ready and hoped to reopen today, we have decided to remain closed a bit longer," Bruce said. We made this precautionary decision as we are continuing to understand the scope of the situation and potential related illness from other food establishments in the mall. The safety of our employees and guests is our highest priority and we look forward to reopening soon."

The other 10 restaurants at the food court are also cooperating with the health department's recommendations.

The health department did confirm the illness is not hepatitis A. It also does not believe the root source is contaminated food.

If you think you received a food-borne illness, you can call (859) 231-9791 or email report@lfchd.org.

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