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Harrogate man seeks legal advice against Wetherspoons after suspected norovirus

Paul Pojar.
Paul Pojar.

A Harrogate man is seeking legal advice against Wetherspoons, after he fell ill at the same time that the pub closed due to a suspected case of norovirus.

Paul Pojar, 34, visited Harrogate's Winter Gardens Wetherspoons on Parliament Street on September 17 with a friend. He fell ill the next day, suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains and fever.

Wetherspoons closed on September 18 due to reports of staff showing symptoms of norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, and a number of readers contacted the ‘Advertiser to say they felt sick after visiting the Winter Gardens branch just before the closure.

The pub reopened on September 21 after being given a 'clean bill of health' by Public Health England, and a thorough clean of the premises was carried out.

But Mr Pojar is seeking advice from Irwin Mitchell solicitors after he missed several days of work because of his illness. He sought medical attention and attended the out of hours GP at Harrogate Hospital on September 19, where he was given a prescription to treat his symptoms.

Amandeep Dhillon, a Partner and Public Health specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We were concerned by the initial reports regarding the Wetherspoons pub in Harrogate.

“It’s imperative that the cause of the illness is determined to ensure that no others are affected like Paul has been. We will continue to work with Paul as we investigate the cause of his illness, and to ensure that he gets answers for how he came to fall ill.”

Mr Pojar said: "I didn’t think much of it until the next day when I began to feel really ill and I was being sick.

“My symptoms got worse so I went to the out of hours GP at Harrogate Hospital. When I read the newspaper stories about the place closing down for a clean, I began to worry that this could be something serious and instructed lawyers to investigate what happened.”

In a statement issued on September 26, a Wetherspoons spokesperson said: “This was a suspected norovirus, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘winter vomiting bug’. It is a stomach bug and is not food poisoning.

“It can be spread by direct contact with someone with the virus or by touching surfaces that have also been touched by someone with the bug. We have strict and robust procedures, which include a deep clean of the entire pub (conducted by an approved contractor), not allowing any employee to return to work until they have been 48 hours clear of any symptoms and ensuring the pub remains closed for 48 hours after any issues are reported.

“We remained in contact with the local authorities throughout, to notify them of the actions we have taken. We are grateful for the support of the town and our customers.”

Wetherspoons declined to comment on Mr Pojar's case.