Jenks Encourages Support for Restaurants After E. Coli Shut-Down - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Jenks Encourages Support for Restaurants After E. Coli Shut-Down

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After a water sample tested positive for E. coli last Thursday, all Jenks restaurants were shut down on Friday afternoon, leading the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to hold Thursday's 'I'm Good for Thursday' program, encouraging people to eat at local restaurants to help make up for lost revenue.

"This is just a simple way for us to come out and say, 'We stand with you, we support you, and we're glad to have you here in town,'" said Chamber President, Josh Driskell.

But, for restaurant owner Jimmy Blacketer, today's push by the chamber should never have been necessary. He says, the steps taken by the health department went too far. "We just feel that that was a gross overstatement from the health department to shut us down on Friday night at 7:00," Blacketer said.

He owns two popular restaurants along the riverfront -- Waterfront Grill and Los Cabos.

Blacketer questions why restaurants in other areas receiving the same water supply as Jenks, were not shut down. He says more testing should have been required.

"We felt like a secondary test should have been done and really, an investigation should have been done by the DEQ and the health department to see where this was going before they shut down all these restaurants. They jumped the gun, big time, and cost a lot of people, a lot of money to be lost," Blacketer said.

Losses for his two restaurants -- he says -- likely reached between $60,000 and $70,000.

"We're speaking out because we want to make sure that this doesn't happen again," he added.

All restaurant owners we spoke with say, this week, any boost is appreciated and will help.

The health department has said they moved swiftly to give restaurants the go-ahead to re-open on Saturday.

The E. coli was reportedly isolated to one testing site.

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