The New York City Health Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) apparently received an anonymous tip last week that the UA Theater Sheepshead Bay 14 on Shore Parkway in Brooklyn had bed bugs.
Fox 5 News reports that
A manager on site did not want to speak with Fox 5’s Ti-Hua Chang about the reported problem, but a spokesperson for Regal Cinemas, the chain that runs the theater, issued a statement saying, in part, that “there exists no current health or safety risk for our guests or staff.”
Fox 5 found out about this because Celina De Leon (of the NYC Department of Health) emailed someone at Fox with the following message:
“The Health Department received an anonymous report last week about bed bugs at this theater. The Health Department worked with the theater manager … who indicated that they hired a pest control professional who responded to the problem.”
(Note, that memo is reproduced in the video segment below, but not in the short article accompanying it.)
It isn’t clear when Fox was contacted by De Leon, but obviously, this report was not made public until the theater had had a pest control firm in to “respond.” And, of course, we’re also not exactly sure what they responded to or how.
Now, the interesting thing here is not that an anonymous tipster told the NYC DOHMH that a movie theater had bed bugs.
Nor is it the fact that the theater then hired an environmental services firm to “respond to the problem.”
The real news here is that a New York City agency is passing along news about reported bed bug infestations in public to the news media.
Wow. That is new!
An official NYC-sponsored version of the Bed Bug Registry, warning others of infestations around businesses in the city?
Okay, don’t hold your breath on that one, but I do think this is a very interesting development.
It certainly puts the pressure on other businesses to respond to potential bed bug issues — so they can avoid such publicity, or at least show they responded quickly and appropriately.
It suggests that others who positively identify bed bugs in public places in New York City — whoever else they notify, such as the business owner — should also call the Department of Health.
Now, can New York City get a bed bug public education campaign?
An overhaul of the bed bug inspection process for tenants?
Some help for homeowners, landlords and business owners who are suffering both financially and from bed bugs, so they don’t cut corners with treatment?
Help with those difficult cases, where no one seems to be responsible for helping with prep?
I can’t wait to see what the New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board is working on.