EAST BREMERTON — The Kitsap Public Health District ordered the McDonald's restaurant at 6755 Highway 303 to shut down this week after an inspector discovered a rat infestation.
Health officials Tuesday suspended the operating permit of the restaurant, located near the Walmart in East Bremerton, because of an "imminent health hazard" caused by rats. It has yet to reopen.
The restaurant's management has been working with the health department since early September, when an inspector initially found evidence of rats above the tiles in the ceiling of the dining area and in the kitchen. A pest control firm was retained and restaurant staff voluntarily closed to clean and sanitize the building on Sept. 21.
But on Tuesday morning, health inspectors shut down the location. Health officials noted "a large accumulation of feces in the dry goods storage area above the CO2 tanks as well as signs of new feces above tiles around the hot water heater."
"Furthermore there is evidence of rat activity and feces in the food prep and food storage areas," inspectors said.
The location is one of 14 McDonald's on the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas that are owned and operated by Brian and Kathy Beaulaurier.
“Restaurant cleanliness and food safety are some of our top priorities. We take this matter very seriously and are working to rectify any issues," Brian Beaulaurier said in a statement.
Lindsay Rainey, a spokeswoman for the McDonald's Corporation, added that the restaurant is working closely with health officials and hope to reopen "as soon as possible."