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One Gross Side Effect of Outdoor Dining Some Restaurants Are Seeing

Al fresco dining may mean you have unwanted company—rats!

As if they need more on their plate, many restaurant owners are finding a new problem they suddenly having to deal with: rats.

Giacomo Romano owns Ciccio, an Italian restaurant in the SoHo area of New York City, and told NBC's News 4 that the sanitation of a nearby park is contributing to a recurring problem of rats. "Last night, a customer had a baby rat running on his shoe and I let you just imagine his reaction." Gross.

Serving diners outside remains the necessary situation for eating establishments in states concerned with the ongoing threat presented by the coronavirus. As medical and public health experts learn more about the potentially deadly COVID-19 contagion, there is a growing body of evidence that shows the riskiest place to contract the virus is a crowded and poorly ventilated indoor space.

Dining al fresco has long been a lovely summer tradition, particularly in regions where the change of seasons doesn't allow eating outside year-round. Since many eating establishments have been effectively shut down for any dining due to the coronavirus pandemic, both restaurant owners and diners alike are thrilled to finally eat out. But since we apparently are in a time where we cannot have nice things, rodents appear to be ruining the one source of joy for some urban-dwelling foodies.

Restaurants owners have really struggled with the shelter in home guidelines that cratered their businesses, and in many places, are now entirely reliant on serving patrons outside, which introduces a completely new set of challenges depending on the environment. Rodents might be a challenge for urban restaurant owners, but insects like mosquitoes or even oppressive heat make for a different dining experience in other places. And for more reports from the front lines of the dining world, make sure you're aware of Dr. Fauci's Important New Warning for Restaurants.

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