BILLERICA , Mass., March 9 (UPI) -- A Billerica, Mass., Chipotle Mexican Grill voluntarily closed temporarily after an employee was diagnosed with norovirus.
Two other employees, who called in sick Tuesday, have suspected cases of the illness, which also sickened more than 136 Boston College students in December at another Boston-area Chipotle location. There were no reports of illnesses among customers at the restaurant in Billerica, a town 20 miles northwest of Boston.
"The employees did not come into the restaurant," said Sandra Giroux of the Billerica Board of Health. "They called in sick. Chipotle has voluntarily shut down and are throwing away all of the food items in the store and are sanitizing everything according to their new protocol."
The restaurant has been sanitized, and faces a government health inspection Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says norovirus is a very contagious virus that can be contracted from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, and leads to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
The Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill dealt with a series of E. coli and norovirus outbreaks in several of its locations across country in 2015, as well as a criminal investigation in California regarding food safety matters. Sales fell 14.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.
In early February the company announced it will invest millions of dollars in a food safety program. All Chipotle locations in the United States closed for a day on Feb. 8 for a national meeting at which the new measures were addressed with employees.