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Boston Chipotle hit by norovirus hopes for fresh start

A sign showing that the Chipotle Mexican Grill in the Cleveland Circle area of Boston was closed on Dec. 8, 2015. The restaurant reopened on Dec. 26.

Scott Eisen, Getty Images

BOSTON -- A Chipotle restaurant near Boston College has reopened several weeks after 136 patrons fell ill with norovirus.

City health inspectors had given the restaurant in the Cleveland Circle neighborhood permission to reopen as soon as Thursday, but it wasn't able to open its doors immediately because of an unrelated water leak. The Chipotle reopened Saturday instead.

Boston's chief health inspector told the Boston Herald he plans to have lunch at the restaurant Monday as a show of confidence.

Health officials ordered the restaurant closed on Dec. 7 after patrons, including dozens of Boston College students, many of them members of BC's men's basketball team, became sick with the gastrointestinal illness. The restaurant was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before reopening.

Norovirus causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but most patients recover within a few days.

The Boston Chipotle outbreak was believed to have been sparked by a sick employee at the restaurant. Norovirus, the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States, is often spread by infected food service workers.

Officials say the norovirus outbreak was not linked to an outbreak of E. coli that prompted the temporary shutdown of 43 Chipotle restaurants in Oregon and Washington in late October.