Wahaca faces norovirus payouts

The Wahaca chain of Mexican restaurants has admitted liability in a number of cases following an outbreak of the norovirus last year, and is expected to pay out five-figure damages to a number of customers, according to a report in the Evening Standard newspaper.

About 360 customers and staff contracted the virus in the outbreak which temporarily closed nine London branches of the chain in October and November last year, causing the cancellation of Wahaca’s Day of the Dead fiesta.

Lawyers involved in the case say they hope to secure payments in excess of £15,000 to victims left seriously ill or facing long-term complications.

Irwin Mitchell solicitors, acting for seven victims, has received a letter from Wahaca’s insurer stating that liability is admitted.

One of Irwin Mitchell’s clients, A-level student Sarah Cousins of Wallingford in Oxfordshire, was hospitalised with severe gastric symptoms after visiting the Westfield White City branch of Wahaca. She has type-1 diabetes and went on to develop the potentially life-threatening illness ketoacidosis, the Standard reported.

Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers has expressed her pride in the speed with which the company acted to tackle the outbreak, and a spokesman said individual cases are being dealt with as swiftly and fairly as possible. Public Health England is to publish a report on the case.

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