As part of its extensive food safety program, Chipotle is one of the few national restaurant chains that offers a paid sick program for its employees. When asked by Thrillist, Arnold would not say the Norovirus scare is an example of the paid sick program in action, and simply reiterated, "I think it’s an example of the system working the way it should."
Robert Gravani, a food safety expert and professor at Cornell University, said it's hard for him to say if Chipotle's new food safety measures are working, but notes that paid sick leave for restaurant workers is an "important proposition."
"A lot of times, food workers really depend on that paycheck at the end of the week and if they stay home, they don’t get payed." he said. "Paid sick time encourages people not to work when they are sick, and hopefully this doesn’t get abused, but they can stay home and recover."
Gravani believes Chipotle did the right thing by closing and sanitizing the restaurant out of an abundance of caution.
"I think Chipotle’s quick reaction to this situation in closing things down and double checking everything and being prudent is clearly an indication that they’re trying to win back the trust and confidence of their customers and the general public,” he said. “It sounds like [Chipotle] tightened things up considerably and one would hope that they could keep problems from reoccurring."
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.