Megabytes Cafe will remain closed for 'foreseeable future,' says AU spokesperson
There is no estimated reopening date for campus dining establishment
Megabytes Cafe closed on Nov. 1 following several social media videos that showed rats digging through food and scampering across window sills in the campus cafe. Now, AU spokesperson Mark Story said that the dining establishment is expected to remain closed for the “foreseeable future” as the University completes repairs on the facility.
While Megabytes owner Tom Gera said that his business would be closed for at least a week to do temporary repairs, Story said that, between construction and pest management, there is still a lot of work to be done. The University does not have an estimated date for when Megabytes will reopen, Story said.
“Pest control in any establishment is a shared responsibility between tenant and landlord,” Story said.
Pest management consists of “exclusion,” or keeping rodents out, which is the University’s responsibility, Story added. “Sanitation” and cleanliness of the establishment is the responsibility of the tenant, he said.
In an interview earlier this month, Gera said he first reached out to the University to resolve the rat problem in July. He wanted to renovate the cafe over the summer, and when the University instead proposed repairs in September, Gera agreed under the terms that he would be compensated for the time his business had to close. When the University refused those terms, Gera said he denied the offer.
Story said that the University arranged monthly health inspections, asked for access to Megabytes’ infrastructure and arranged with an outside contractor to do “smoke tests,” or tests that expose rodent tunnels. However, Story said that those requests “had not been granted.”
The D.C. city health inspection records for Megabytes from Nov. 1, the day the cafe was closed, said that the dining establishment is in compliance for most standards.
Insects, rodents and animals were not present at the time of inspection, according to the report. However, the inspector did observe some violations, including a food employee not wearing a hair restraint while working with open food and cutting boards that were “severely scratched and stained.”