Boston-area Chipotle closes doors over norovirus – CBS News

BILLERICA, Massachusetts – A Boston-area Chipotle has been shut down temporarily after an employee was diagnosed with norovirus and two others reported similar symptoms, CBS Boston reports.

By late Tuesday, cleanup crews had arrived with sanitation supplies in tow. Customer after customer arrived to find a familiar sign on the door.

“Disappointed they’re closed again,” said customer Tim Wood.

The Chipotle in Billerica voluntarily closed earlier in the day after four employees called out sick. One of those employees tested positive for norovirus, and two others are suspected to have the virus.

There have not been any reports of customers getting sick.

The Board of Health was immediately notified and work began. “I think the restaurant is doing everything possible to sanitize and bring everything back to a cleanliness state to reopen,” said Sandra Giroux of the Billerica Board of Health.

But that might not happen until the end of the week at the earliest. The sick employees won’t be allowed back to work until they are symptom-free for five days.

Norovirus, the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States, causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but most patients recover within a few days. The illness is often spread by infected food service workers.

Even though Chipotle has had more than its share of widely-publicized health issues in recent months, some customers remain loyal.

“They’re a great company, we love them,” said customer Connor McCarthy. “We come here all the time. I haven’t had any problems with it, I’m sure they’re just looking out for us.”

In December, another local Chipotle outlet in the Cleveland Circle area was closed for several weeks after more than 150 people became sick from a norovirus outbreak. Those sickened included dozens of students from Boston College.

That followed an outbreak of E. coli at Chipotle locations in Oregon and Washington that prompted the temporary shutdown of 43 restaurants in late October.

In January, the company reported sales plunged 36 percent at stores open at least 13 months.

Last month, Chipotle held a company-wide meeting on food safety, closing all of its stores for half a day so more than 50,000 employees could attend. Among other measures, it urged employees to stay home if they feel sick.

Chipotle has also announced a number of new food safety practices to reduce the risk of foodborne contamination.

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