Chipotle Boston Restaurant Linked To Norovirus Outbreak Cleared To Reopen


Chipotle Mexican Grill reopened its branch near Boston College after being linked to a norovirus outbreak.

Health officials from the city cleared the restaurant for operations once again and stated that it can reopen its doors on Thursday, Dec. 24. However, due to an unrelated water leak, the restaurant had to delay the reopening. The Cleveland Circle branch resumed services fully on Saturday, Dec. 26 instead.

William "Buddy" Christopher Jr., the chief health inspector/commissioner of Boston's Inspectional Services Department said that he will eat at the restaurant on Monday for lunch to prove that the restaurant is now safe for the public and that he is confident of the investigation's results. For him, Chipotle is probably the best option to dine at present because it is the cleanest place in Boston. "They have a clean bill of health," he said.

An emergency room doctor named Nikhil Shankar from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was convinced that it is safe to patronize the restaurant once again. In fact, he went there and had a takeaway meal on the first day of the reopening. He said that the green light issued by the city health inspectors is reason enough for him to eat at the restaurant once again. "If I get sick, I get sick," he said. "Someone had to try it again."

On Dec. 7, health officials ordered that Chipotle be closed after 136 customers reported that they got ill after eating at the restaurant. Among the more than 100 sickened people were members of the Boston College basketball team.

The case was said to have originated from a sick employee and is not related to the E. coli outbreak that occurred in numerous Chipotle branches in Washington and Oregon in October 2015.

After health officials ordered the Cleveland Circle branch to be closed, they further discovered additional health violations that two other Chipotle restaurants in Boston committed. On Dec. 9, they found bird droppings and an actual bird in the Chipotle Brookline Avenue branch.

Christopher said the management had a challenging time trying to get rid of the bird. He added that the bird keeps on returning, which he described as "the weirdest thing in the world." The restaurant brought in a bird expert this week.

On Dec. 10, health inspectors said they discovered that Chipotle in Boylston Street also committed several violations. Among the violations include utensils being stored in a box on the floor, a dumpster left uncovered, onions being stored next to raw chicken and a rusty knife holder. City records said all these problems have been resolved, except for the knife holder.

Photo: Michael Saechang | Flickr

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