PORTLAND, Maine — An Old Port pizza parlor has shut down for at least a week after 10 cases of COVID-19 were traced there.
The infections were mostly linked to guests who were at the Portland location of Pat’s Pizza on Oct. 16 and Oct. 22, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday.
Shah encouraged those who were there on those dates to be tested.
The Old Port pizza franchise is one of 17 operated under independent owners in Maine.
It was purchased in 2019 by Mike Lizotte and Justin Martino. Lizotte also operates a stock market-themed bar on Wharf Street.
Lizotte said Thursday that one of his employees and a social circle of nine patrons who dined inside the restaurant had tested positive.
He described the patrons as regulars who “went to a house party and got it” and came to the Old Port to eat at Pat’s Pizza.
The restaurant has been closed since Monday and will be for “at least another week,” Lizotte said. He added that COVID-19 test results for most of his staff of 15 came back negative today and he is awaiting results on the remaining tests. The infected employee, who tested positive on Wednesday, is in quarantine.
Lizotte said that the restaurant had been following CDC guidelines, but “can’t regulate patrons who are asymptomatic and come into our restaurant.”
Earlier this week, public health officials said Maine was experiencing a “third surge” of outbreaks from the virus, since it first began spreading here in March. An uptick in cases is happening virtually everywhere in the state.
“As folks are moving inside, I think folks are letting their guard down,” Shah said on Wednesday, after Maine set a record for the number of new coronavirus cases reported in a single day.
The state set a new record on Thursday when another 94 coronavirus cases were reported in Maine.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the year Mike Lizotte bought the Pat’s Pizza Old Port location.