Chipotle has temporarily closed several of its locations across the country due to E. coli outbreaks over the past few months. Soon, the company will be shutting all of them down for one day. Let us pray.

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The last time an outbreak struck fear in the hearts of U.S. citizens like this was perhaps the polio epidemic of the 1940s. E. coli outbreaks have occurred at Chipotles in over 10 states, including Boston, Oregon and Washington, with hundreds of customers falling ill and stocks dipping 37 percent since October, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Officials are still investigating whether meat or produce could be the problem. In the meantime, Chipotle will close every location (for a few hours) on Feb. 8 to educate employees and lay out a strategy that hopefully involves free meals and no E. coli.

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The Chipotle shutdown is part of a marketing plan to restore faith in customers that biting on a yum burrito won’t decimate our insides. Nothing says “safe food” like a national chain closure. According to E! News:

The closure is to give execs time to answer questions about the outbreak and to go over a new marketing plan to bring customers back.

At a conference on Wednesday, top Chipotle execs worked to assure investors that the the outbreak has settled:

...Chipotle executives said it appears that no customers have reported getting sick with E. coli since late November, and that they think the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could soon call an end to the outbreak linked to the restaurant chain, which has sickened more than 50 people across the country.

A member of the CDC told the WSJ, however, “It’s true we’ve seen some positive movement in the right direction. It’s been well over a month since we’ve seen any reports from ill people.” And also: “We’re more cautious about closing it. It’s a conversation we’ll have over the coming weeks.”


Contact the author at clover.hope@jezebel.com.

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Image via Dimension Films