Via Matt Ygelsias comes word that restaurants in the upscale suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, are being ordered to seal their windows shut in order to prevent the migration of "vermin" from city sidewalks to back kitchens. TBD Neighborhoods reports:
A health inspector came by the American Tap Room in Bethesda this summer to complete its final inspection before the restaurant opened, and noticed its many wide windows opening onto Woodmont Avenue. He noted this was against state law, and since the county has to enforce state law, the restaurant had to put up screens in its windows, much to the chagrin of management (one manager said of the rule, "oh, we hate it.").
The crazy thing about this law is that open windows in restaurants are a pretty reliable indicator of safe, vibrant neighborhoods. Business owners don't leave themselves wide open when they're worried about street crime, panhandlers, and the like. And patrons prefer to sit near open windows only when they like to interact with the world outside rather than retreat from it.
I have been pestered by flies from time to time in open-window restaurants, but I'm pretty sure I've seen roaches only in closed environments. And the few times I've seen mice or rats have been in dark, stuffy dining areas where the vermin don't know there's a difference between day and night.
Let the sunshine in!