It’s safe to say that buying a movie ticket usually implies the added “pleasures” of sticky floors and sometimes noisy neighbors, but one thing you probably wouldn’t expect: pests. However, that’s what the patrons at the Cinema de Lux movie theater in White Plains appear to have dealt with this week.
The Cinema de Lux in White Plains has been cited for the presence of insects, rats, vermin, or other pests. Karen Pasquale, senior adviser to White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, said that multiple complaints were made to the White Plains Building Department about the theater. The city’s building department investigated those claims and a notice of violation was sent to the theater on Wednesday.
The theater was in violation of the state property maintenance law section 308.1, according to Pasquale, which states: “All structures shall be kept free from insect and rodent infestation. All structures in which insects or rodents are found shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes that will not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken to prevent re-infestation.”
However, the cinema’s management is denying that charge.
“Cinema de Lux was thoroughly inspected by an independent fully licensed pest control company multiple times this week. The inspection results were clear and were provided to the city inspector and contrary to recent news reports, no citations were issued,” Rachel Lulay, spokesperson for National Amusements, which owns Cinema de Lux, said in a statement. A similar message also appears on the theater’s Facebook page.
Infestations in the other areas of City Center were not reported, according to The Journal News.
The infestation was brought to the public’s attention after it became a topic of conversation in a Facebook group for mothers of White Plains. One mother stated that a friend’s daughter came home from the Cinema de Lux covered in bed bug bites on Saturday.
A bed bug infestation was reported in September at the AMC Empire 25 movie theater in Times Square. That was the second time Empire 25 has dealt with a bed bug infestation since 2010.
The National Pest Management Association has reported that there has been a 6 percent increase in cases of bed bugs in movie theaters that required professional response since 2013. According to a survey conducted by the NPMA, bed bugs continue to be the most difficult pests to control, beating out ants, cockroaches, and termites.
Claude Maxwell, president of Top Level Pest Control in White Plains, told The Journal News that these types of infestations are more common than people realize, “especially with bed bugs, because they’re hitchhikers.” Maxwell said that putting clothes in the dryer on high heat is a good preventative method for anyone concerned they have been exposed to bed bugs.