After a water supply sample tested positive for E. coli for the second time in less than a week, Public Health - Seattle & King County closed all of the more than 60 restaurants and coffee shops on Mercer Island and issued a new water boil advisory Thursday.
A staff member at Bennett’s told Eater that the crew received word of the boil advisory around 12:45 after a patron called to inquire; management then contacted the city to confirm the closure order. Staff is cleaning up and locking the doors until further notice.
While there have been no reports of illness, E.coli and Total Coliform were found in the city's water earlier today. According to officials, Seattle Public Utilities water is safe to drink but Mercer Island residents should use boiled or store bought bottled water for drinking, preparing food, making ice, and brushing teeth until the ban is lifted. According to a statement issued this afternoon:
Public Health – Seattle & King County orders all 62 permitted food establishments such as restaurants, coffee shops, and delis operating on the Island to suspend operations today. Health inspectors will provide guidance and oversight for restaurants on how to operate with a modified menu should the boil-water advisory continue. Health inspectors will be providing instructions to schools, childcare, long-term care and skilled nursing facilities on how operate during the boil-water advisory. Permitted food establishments are asked to contact Public Health-Seattle & King County.
UPDATE: Facing lost revenue, restaurant owners are being visited by health inspectors to determine if they will be allowed to open "in a limited fashion" Friday, reports KIRO. Pre-made food and any food that has been washed with water will have to be thrown out. More than a dozen restaurants may open Friday afternoon.
UPDATE: As of 3 p.m. Friday, more than 12 restaurants are "pursuing an option to reopen with limited menus in consultation with Public Health" and the Mercer Island Farmers Market is scheduled to be open Sunday. While a boil advisory is still in place, tests Friday showed that the water is clear. The city will continue to test water over the weekend.