Old Towne Pizza and the food service at Baymont Inn & Suites Tehachapi have both been closed by Kern County Public Health Services, which found rodent droppings at each location.
Problems at Old Towne Pizza have been going on since early June. The restaurant was closed June 6 and reopened June 19. However, in response to a complaint, health inspectors found a week later that the rodent problem had returned, said Michelle Corson, public relations officer for Public Health Services. The pizza shop was last closed June 25 and has not since been reinspected.
The recent inspection report states that rodent droppings were found "on floor in guest sitting area, dry storage and behind cash register. One dropping found on base of dough mixer."
The report also states that the individual operating the facility did not show "basic knowledge of sanitation." In order for Old Towne Pizza to open its doors again, pest control invoices must be submitted to Public Health Services so they can do another inspection.
Corson said Public Health Services had reopened the Old Towne Pizza "with confidence" given that the staff had attended food school, a free refresher course on restaurant health and sanitation. The restaurant was also expected to close themselves down should the rodent problem return, which they did not do, Corson said.
At the hotel, rodent droppings were found Monday, July 9, in the food prep area and cabinets, according to the inspection report, which also states that the facility "showed knowledge of rodent droppings in the past."
A hotel manager who did not give her name told Tehachapi News on Wednesday that the food service expects to open "any day now." However, Corson said the health department has not been back for an inspection and has given owners no indication that the kitchen will open soon. She said health inspectors are still waiting to see an assessment from pest control.
The staff of Baymont Inn have also attended food school this week, said Corson, who explained that the health code violations in the kitchen are "not impacting the rest of the hotel."
Once the owners of both locations are confident that the problems are gone, they can schedule return inspections.
A phone number for Old Towne Pizza was not in service Wednesday, July 11.