There’s a Chuck E. Cheese that I drive by with Sam a couple of times a week. Every time we go by he wants to go back: we took him there on his third birthday (on a weekday afternoon) and he went nuts for Skee-Ball and the arcade games.
Running food safety and infection control at a kids arcade-style restaurant is probably nerve-wracking. According to KAAL ABC Chanel 6, a norovirus outbreak is being investigated at a Minnesota Chuck E. Cheese outlet.
The Washington County Public Health Department is investigating a norovirus outbreak at a Woodbury Chuck E. Cheese restaurant that sickened at least 30 last weekend.
The restaurant was scheduled to be closed until 1 p.m. Wednesday while staff cleaned, said Fred Anderson, an epidemiologist for Washington County Public Health. The restaurant was open until 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Washington County is still trying to determine how the norovirus got started. Several patrons reported getting sick Saturday. Public Health has interviewed about 60 people and half have reported getting sick.
Washington County Public Health reviewed the reservations made for Friday, Saturday and Sunday and determined about 1,000 people were in the restaurant during that time, Anderson said.
A decent recipe for an outbreak is a bunch of kids, with questionable hygiene, in a place with a lot of stuff to touch, and eat, at the height of norovirus season.
Health officials say they’re seriously concerned about an outbreak of Norovirus linked to a well-known restaurant. Hundreds of people walk through the doors for birthday parties – but when Kelly Green left this Chuck E Cheese’s she was not celebrating.
“I started getting really sick to my stomach and feeling super nauseous. I got an extreme case of bad, bad diarrhea,” Kelly Green said. “It was like worse than I ever experienced.
After talking to others who attended the party, Green soon learned she had a case of Norovirus.
Green said she contacted The Hennepin County Health Department. Soon after, health officials asked her to submit a stool sample to see if she had contracted the virus.
No one from Chuck E Cheese’s would talk on camera. A spokesperson told KARE 11 News employees sanitize hard surfaces throughout the day and perform a deep clean at night. Late Thursday, the Chuck E Cheese’s released the following statement:
We are aware that the Maple Grove Health Department launched an investigation this week into a few reported cases of Norovirus contraction potentially stemming from a birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese’s location. We are also aware that Minnesota has seen numerous outbreaks across the state this year – more than 40 reported cases since Jan. 1, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, so we are cooperating fully with officials to learn as much as possible about this situation.
While the investigation is ongoing, preliminary reports have determined that someone entered our restaurant while ill and transmitted the virus to other patrons through close contact. The cleanliness of our facility has not been called into question. As we are always concerned about the health and safety of the families who visit our stores and we are aware that the Norovirus has plagued many residents this spring, we will continue to be hyper vigilant in maintaining our rigorous sanitation standards.
Chuck E Cheese’s also provided video showing dispensers with hand sanitizer throughout their restaurants.
But hand sanitizers don’t work so well on Norovirus.