Norovirus, Not Brawl, Breaks Out At Chuck E. Cheese’s

Something terrible broke out at a Minnesota Chuck E. Cheese’s last week, and for once it wasn’t an adult brawl requiring police intervention. No, this time it was something even more frightening: norovirus. Authorities believe that the illness didn’t spread through food, but across other surfaces.

Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness that is a hardy, fast-spreading, quickly-mutating pathogen. It’s that hardiness that makes the virus such a scourge in hospitals, nursing homes, and on cruise ships.

Based on interviews with employees and customers, the local health department believes that a customer in the restaurant was contagious last weekend, contaminating surfaces simply by touching them. In an ordinary restaurant, they might touch a chair, a doorknob, and maybe the communal crayons for children, but this was Chuck E. Cheese’s, filled with arcade games and play equipment and a wide variety of terrifying disease vectors.

“As we are always concerned about the health and safety of the families who visit our stores and we are aware that the norovirus has plagued many residents this spring,” a spokesperson for the chain told Twin Cities Business Journals we will continue to be hyper vigilant in maintaining our rigorous sanitation standards.”

The health department asked staff to wipe down every possible surface with a bleach solution, which is the best way to kill norovirus. That said, it’s also a good idea to wash your hands before you eat. Or touch your face.

Hennepin Co. Investigates Norovirus Outbreak at Chuck E. Cheese’s [Twin Cities Business Journals]