LYNNWOOD — A Chuck E. Cheese was closed by the Snohomish Health District on Tuesday because of health code violations. Eight people reported gastrointestinal illnesses after visiting the food and entertainment center over the weekend.
Heather Thomas, health district spokeswoman, said the closure was prompted after a safety team went to Chuck E. Cheese at 3717 196th St. SW in Lynnwood.
“While they were there they identified a number of health code violations,” she said. “There were some hand-washing concerns and they did not have hot water. Some of the food worker cards were missing for their employees.”
Thomas said there has been an uptick in norovirus-like illnesses reported in the county. It was unknown whether Chuck E. Cheese was the source or if the illness is norovirus.
The busy place with the cartoon mouse and pizza was ordered closed for a minimum of 48 hours and can open after it passes a health inspection.
”They will have to clean all the toys, all the balls in the ball pit,” Thomas said. “It might take them a while.”
Workers will also need to clean the usual tables, chairs and napkin dispensers.
“At this point, we haven’t had a report of any of the workers being sick,” Thomas said.
She said Chuck E. Cheese and its employees are cooperating.
“Schools, daycares and other places where large numbers of children play — like Chuck E. Cheese — can be prime spots for the germs to spread quickly,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, interim health officer, in a news release. “It’s a great reminder for parents and caregivers to teach and model good hand-washing habits for kids.”
Gastrointestinal illnesses like norovirus can spread quickly and are often mistakenly called stomach flu. The virus causes stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting because the stomach, intestines or both get inflamed. Symptoms include a sudden onset of illness, usually 24 to 48 hours after exposure. It can also include headaches, chills, a low-grade fever, muscle aches and tiredness.
Those who get sick after eating in any restaurant should contact the Communicable Disease Surveillance line at 425-339-5278.