Chipotle Closes Restaurants During Lunch for Food Safety Meeting

If you planned to grab a quick burrito at Chipotle on your lunch break today, you're out of luck.

The Mexican fast food chain will be closed until 3 p.m. ET Monday for an employee meeting meant to address food safety practices at the company. Chipotle's 1,900 stores usually open at 11 a.m.

Every Chipotle restaurant will open late due to food safety meeting 0:18

The goal of the meeting, which was broadcast live from Denver to 400 meeting spaces around the country, was to outline "for all employees the steps that have been taken outside the restaurants to make Chipotle ingredients safer than ever," according to a statement from Chipotle.

Related: Chipotle Illnesses Have Food Safety Experts 'Scratching Their Heads'

The company said 50,000 of its more than 60,000 employees participated.

The gathering comes after more than 50 people across 14 states were sickened in two separate E.coli outbreaks after eating at Chipotle restaurants. Norovirus outbreaks were also reported in Massachusetts and California last year, and a federal criminal probe linked to the case in California — which sickened more than 200 people — has been broadened to a national investigation.

Chipotle's sales plummeted about 36 percent in January after falling by 14.6 percent in the fourth quarter — a slide that Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells said brought the "most challenging period in Chipotle's history."

The new food safety standards that were outlined in Monday's meeting included "high-resolution DNA-based testing of many ingredients," changes to food preparation and handling practices, additional employee training and "paid sick leave helping to ensure that ill employees have no incentive to work while ill," according to Chipotle.

Related: Chipotle Sued For Allegedly Misleading Investors About Food Safety

"We are extremely focused on executing this program, which designs layers of redundancy and enhanced safety measures to reduce the food safety risk to a level as near to zero as is possible," Ells said.

Chipotle live-tweeted the meeting, which began at noon ET and lasted for about 45 minutes.