PORTLAND, Maine — An outbreak of COVID-19 cases linked to Pat’s Pizza in the Old Port increased to 22 over the weekend, up from 10 when the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention first said it had launched an investigation into the spread of the virus there.
The Maine Health Inspection Program cited the restaurant on Sep. 22 for customers not wearing face masks while they were not seated at their tables. As of Friday, it’s the only Portland business to be cited by the agency, according to Jessica Hanscombe, inspector of the program.
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After being cited, Mike Lizotte, a co-owner of the restaurant, said he hired five security staff for Friday and Saturday night shifts to “walk around and tell patrons to sit down and wear a mask.” The response allowed the restaurant to remain open until last week’s outbreak forced it to close on Wednesday.
The initial 10 positive cases reported last week included one employee, Lizotte said. It is unclear how many of the restaurant’s workers comprise the 22 cases traced there that were reported Monday.
Maine has seen a spike in coronavirus outbreaks in the past week, including 356 active cases in Cumberland County, the state’s most populous. State CDC director Nirav Shah said Monday the bulk of new coronavirus cases were due to community transmission.