CONCORD, Calif. (KTVU) - In the last nine days, five restaurants in Concord's Sun Valley Mall have been closed, all for similar health concerns.
The mall has many places to eat, of which only five have been disciplined. Johnny Rockets was closed on the 9th. On the 10th, on the other side of the mall, Charlie's Philly Steaks, Chicken Connection, Lotus Express/Suki Hana and Tomi Japanese Seafood were ordered closed because of evidence of vermin.
"It's things like rats, mice, roaches, flies we look for," said Joe Doser, Contra Costa County Environmental Health Supervisor.
Vermin can spread five kinds of foodborne disease: Leptospirosis, Hantavirus, Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis Haverhill (Rat-bite) Fever and Salmonellosis. The county closed and red tagged each restaurant, mandating a specific set of abatement procedures and a re-inspection when done.
All of the restaurants immediately complied, were re-inspected and were open as of Thursday night.
"We would not have allowed them to reopen if we didn't think it was safe for the public. I always tell the inspectors, you know, if you wouldn't let your own family eat there, you shouldn't let other peoples' families eat there either," said Doser.
But the issue is not settled yet. "It's a pretty good sized mall, and the infestations have been widespread, so there's probably some larger scale systemic problem out there. That's why our office is actually reaching out to the mall owner and want to meet with them and try to make them part of the solution here to eradicating this infestation problem," said Doser.
The mall's general manager told me that it is working with the restaurants and the county to the degree necessary.
Some folks we met were concerned that the cleanups were performed so fast. "That's a hard question, I mean, I'd give them maybe 30 days to maybe reopen back up. I don't know about three days. I'm not sure if I'd try that," said Jennifer Coflan.
Others say the independent county oversight and inspection works for them. "I believe so, you get that objectivity which is most important and so I think that is a good thing," said Chris Gallerson.
Again, as of Thursday night, all restaurants in the mall are open and things have returned to normal.