A sign on the front door of Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor City made people aware that government officials shut down the place over apparent health violations.
At the same time, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County was in the midst of an investigation into an employee who they claim tested positive for Hepatitis A.
The business remains closed today.
“I tried to reopen but when you have news people outside your front door telling people we exposed everybody to Hepatitis, everybody went away, our sales went away. How can I stay open?” said owner Kurt King.
The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County warned the public that a worker at the restaurant tested positive for Hepatitis A and urged customers who visited from Oct. 4 to Oct. 20 to get tested.
King told News Channel 8 that the test actually came back negative and believes the department director targeted the restaurant because it’s gay-themed.
“I think what he did was wrong. They didn’t care about us,” he said.
King has hired legal counsel and may soon file a lawsuit, he said.
An American Civil Liberties Union spokeswoman said the organization is reviewing the situation and has requested documents related to it.
When asked for a comment, a health department spokesman refrained.
The issue is expected to be discussed at a Hillsborough County Commission meeting on Jan. 24.
People from both sides of the issue will speak, News Channel 8 learned.