Business

DC Chipotle Shuts Down Store Over Food-Borne Illness Reports

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

Chipotle announced Tuesday that it is closing one of its Washington, D.C.-area stores following reports of customers becoming ill, a setback that could prove horrendous for a company trying to recover from a 2015 E.coli outbreak.

The company said Tuesday it is temporarily closing a location in Sterling, Va., after reports surfaced of a “small number” of reported illnesses, the Associated Press reports. The symptoms of the cases of illness reported thus far are typical of the gastrointestinal bug, norovirus. Chipotle will reportedly reopen the Sterling location Tuesday after a full investigation is completed and the store undergoes a “complete sanitization.”

Chipotle stock fell over 6 percent Tuesday morning after news broke about the Virginia norovirus outbreak.

The company has spent nearly a year slowly recovering from an E.coli outbreak in the fall of 2015 and a single norovirus case in Boston in 2016. To regain good faith from investors and consumers alike, Chipotle made changes to its cooking procedures, training for store employees and made gestures of good will, like offering customers credit and free burritos.

One spot of good news for Chipotle is norovirus may not come directly from its food supply, which could work to bolster consumer confidence. Norovirus outbreaks are more commonly associated with an infected employee touching raw ingredients with their bare hands.

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