DROPPED THE BALL: A sign on the door of the Walmart in Austin noting that the store's license was temporarily suspended due to mouse droppings that health inspectors found. | Photo by Michael Romain

The Walmart located at 4651 W. North Ave. in Austin is temporarily closed after city health inspectors found mouse droppings on two separate occasions, according to Ald. Emma Mitts (37th). The store is located in her ward.

On Aug 8, police officers and store employees were turning away customers who did not know the store was closed. Some employees said that they were not told the reason for the store’s closing. 

“They don’t tell us nothing,” said one employee, adding that when she showed up to work on Wednesday, the store was closed. 

A large neon sign was on a door of the store on Wednesday afternoon. “License suspended: Chicago Department of Public Health,” the sign read. 

According to WGN, Mitts said that someone told her that the health department inspected the store last week and discovered mouse droppings. On Aug. 7, health inspectors returned to the store and discovered the mouse droppings again.

“They were over around the deli and bread area mainly in that part. Whoever did the initial clean up may not have been as attentive to what they health inspectors would be looking for,” Mitts told WGN. 

The Austin Walmart posted a statement to its Facebook page on Tuesday.

“Our store on North Avenue is temporarily closed as we address a situation following a City of Chicago inspection,” the statement read. “We have stringent quality standards in place and are working closely with the health department. We take this matter seriously and will reopen as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers.” 

On Wednesday afternoon, as she was walking into the Walmart to meet with city health inspectors who were conducting an inspection, Mitts said that the store could be open soon, depending on how the inspection goes.

“After they finish this, if they pass the inspection, we’ll try to work to get them back open shortly,” Mitts said.

According to the health inspection report, which was obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, more than 400 mouse droppings were found throughout the store. By Aug. 13, the store had reopened.

CONTACT: michael@austinweeklynews.com