Chipotle In Boston Spreading Viruses Again? Find Out What Norovirus Is And Why Employees Are Showing Symptoms

A Boston-area Chipotle has been temporarily shut down after one employee was diagnosed with norovirus initially. Two other employees reported similar norovirus symptoms afterwards.

CBS Boston reports that by late Tuesday, Boston area patrons of Chipotle were disgruntled as they showed up to their favorite Mexican Grill restaurant only to find it closed due to sanitation crews inspecting the building for any traces of the norovirus.

“Disappointed they’re closed again,” said customer Tim Wood, on the norovirus scare.

By again, Wood is woefully too familiar, like many Chipotle fans, with the restaurant’s penchant for shutting down due to food safety issues.

Chipotle customer during the first outbreak pondering why the Mexican Restaurant is closed [AP Photo/Alan Diaz]

The Inquisitr reports that Chipotle had just shut its doors temporarily due to massive E. Coli breakouts throughout various stores, as customers were stricken with the symptoms.

Specifically, more than 500 people were reported to be sick or had shown symptoms of E. Coli. Even today, the cause of the outbreak is still unknown.

Founder of Chipotle, Steve Ells, has already strongly iterated his initiative to make Chipotle’s food safer.

“We have implemented unprecedented food safety standards with our suppliers, which make the food coming into our restaurants safer than ever before.”

Yet, The Problem Persists

It was confirmed by medical officials that one of The Chipotle Employees in Boston who was showing symptoms of norovirus indeed tested positive for norovirus.

Fortunately, there hasn’t been any reports of customers getting sick, for now.

The decision to close was actually the Boston Chipotle’s move after their employees were showing symptoms of the norovirus.

Chipotle wasted no time in notifying the Board of Health.

Board of Health director Sandra Giroux said, “I think the restaurant is doing everything possible to sanitize and bring everything back to a cleanliness state to reopen.”

However, the cleanup of the Boston Chipotle may take until the end of the week at least. And the sick employees won’t be allowed back to work until they are symptom-free of the norovirus for five days.

What Is Norovirus?

Norovirus is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States. According to WebMD, noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause inflammation of the stomach and large intestine lining and they are the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S.

An illustration of the Norovirus. The viruses may also be transmitted by fecally contaminated food...So that might be the extra kick you're getting out of that Chipotle burrito. [Image via ShutterStock/AuntSpray]

Another moniker for the norovirus is “the winter vomiting bug,” as it is one of its most common symptoms.

Some other norovirus symptoms include the following.

  • Low-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue

And for restaurants like the Boston Chipotle, norovirus is commonly spread by infected food service workers.

Nevertheless, some Chipotle customers in Boston are still willing to forgive the food chain’s safety issues, even after the recently highly publicized E. Coli breakout, which was detrimental for their sales.

“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.”

Perhaps The Norovirus Breakout At Chipotle Is Just A “Boston Thing?”

CBS news also reported that in December of 2015, another local Chipotle outlet in the Cleveland Circle area was shut down for several weeks after more than 150 people were stricken by the norovirus outbreak — including Boston College students among those infected or claimed to have been showing symptoms.

Chipotle’s Downward Sales

Chipotle may still have its cult following, but overall the company’s sales have taken a drastic 36 percent plunge following the original E. Coli outbreak in Oregon and Washington.

Chipotle reportedly shut down 43 restaurants in light of the wide spread virus.

What This Means For Chipotle

Whether Chipotle can contain the norovirus outbreak and have employees clear of any symptoms promptly or not isn’t the issue.

Chipotle, The Boston location in particular, is still licking its wound from prior food disease outbreaks. Therefore, even if the norovirus outbreak at the Boston location were only a rumor — it still comes at a time where the company is extremely vulnerable.

How do you think the Mexican Grill, Chipotle, will fair in light of its recent norovirus outbreak?

[Photo by AP Photo/Keith Srakocic]