A Chipotle restaurant in New York City has been closed after it was overrun by rodents the size of small cats.
The franchise, located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, has been shuttered since last month after the rats reportedly chewed through wiring of a computer system that took customer orders.
Four employees say they have been bitten by the vermin, who feast on avocados stored in backrooms of the Mexican fast food restaurant.
On Tuesday, employee Luis Gustavo Paulino Ruiz claimed he was attacked by one of the rats after being sent in by managers to clean the store.
He is arguing that Chipotle should have paid for exterminators to fix the situation before it got out of control.
‘You come to work but are afraid that when you open certain kinds of foods or move boxes something will jump out,’ Paulino Ruiz said in a statement filmed by labor union 32BJ.
A shocking photo, purportedly taken inside the store and first obtained by The New York Post, shows a man handling a huge dead rat and using a Chipotle paper bag as a glove.
Another image shows an avocado that has been gnawed on by a hungry rodent.
Employees told The Post that they have killed ‘dozens’ of the rodents since the infestation started in the summer.
Staffers allegedly stomp on the giant rodents, or smack them with broom handles.
The franchise, located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, has been shuttered since last month
The restaurant has been closed since late last month. Chipotle says there is a pest problem in the larger area
One worker told the publication that the first employee was bitten back in October, but the restaurant still remained open despite the infestation and the danger posed to staff.
The store shuttered a month later after a manager was allegedly bitten on the hand.
However, Chipotle says there issue is not just confined to their store and that there is a pest problem in the entire area.
They also dispute that they have put their staffers at risk.
‘The health and safety of our employees and guests is our top priority,’ the company’s corporate affairs and food safety officer told The Posat.
‘The restaurant has been closed since November 23rd due to a pest problem affecting the immediate area. During this time, we have arranged an emergency pest service and deep cleaning and are working with the landlord directly to ensure location improvements are met before reopening.’
It unclear when that will be be.