Chipotle Manager Fired After 153 People Get Sick With Norovirus

What and who exactly is to blame for the norovirus outbreak that sickened more than 150 people who ate at a Boston Chipotle? We can’t say exactly, but there’s one person who is being hit with some of the blame.

This Chipotle, which closed its doors on Dec. 7, is slated to reopen in the coming days. WBZ-TV in Boston confirms that Chipotle has fired the manager of the store, which primarily serves folks at Boston College.

Last week, the mother of a teenager who fell sick after eating at this Chipotle filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that Chipotle’s negligence caused the young man “to suffer severe personal injuries, to suffer great pain of body and mind, to incur hospital and medical expenses, to have his education and recreational activities interrupted, and to have his ability to enjoy a normal, active, and healthy live adversely affected.”

Just to clarify — this isn’t about the recent Chipotle E. coli outbreak that resulted in more than 50 illnesses in nine states. And it’s not about the different strand of E. coli linked to Chipotle in other states. Nor is about the Seattle Chipotle that had to be closed for multiple health inspection violations.

Wow. It’s been a bad couple of months for the burrito chain.

Chipotle CEO Steve Ells has been doing the apology two-step for the last several weeks, first issuing a “my bad” and saying that new standards for the chain — which has always prided itself on quality ingredients and a more upscale-than-expected atmosphere — were going to make Chipotle “the safest place to eat.”

Then last week, Ells took out full-page ads in three popular newspapers, saying that, “The fact that anyone has become ill eating at Chipotle is completely unacceptable to me and I am deeply sorry.”

Unlike most national quick-serve chains, who can distance the brand from the bad behavior at individual restaurants by putting the blame on a franchisee, Chipotle stores are generally owned and operated by the company. That means Ells and Co. are going to be held to an even higher standard than other fast food execs.

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