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Reports: Chipotle closing all its restaurants – for a few hours

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Hurt by a string of food-borne illnesses at its Mexican restaurants, Chipotle reportedly plans to temporarily close all of its locations on Feb. 8 to meet with employees about food safety.

Consumerist cites a Wall Street Journal article saying the nationwide shutdown may last just a few hours.

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The succession of illnesses linked to Chipotle restaurants started last September with a salmonella outbreak in Minnesota that sickened 45 people and was found to have come from a supplier of tomatoes.

In November, Minnesota was one of several states where E. coli was traced to Chipotle locations.

The New York Post says since then there's been a norovirus outbreak at a Boston Chipotle that made more than 100 people sick and another one in Simi Valley, California, in which more than 200 people fell ill.

CNBC notes that sales have fallen at Chipotle and its stock price is down 40 percent from its high-water mark last year.

At a food conference in Florida this week, company executives told the network Chipotle plans to ramp up its marketing efforts and is encouraging its restaurant managers to give out more free food in promotions.

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