The owner and the chef of Cafe Garema just asked for advice. Now they have a large red closure sign on the window of their popular cafe in the heart of the city centre.
The ACT Health Protection Service rang owner Johnny Yang on March 30 at 3pm and told him to close the business after conducting an inspection at lunchtime.
At 4pm, health inspectors, accompanied by two police officers, turned up to the cafe and issued Mr Yang with 12 orders to be carried out before the business could reopen.
Mr Yang and chef Glenn Tranda, who has worked in the restaurant and cafe trade for about two decades, did not expect to be closed, as they had been given no warning at previous inspections.
They believe an inconsistent message from ACT Health Protection Service is partly to blame.
''They should have given us a warning, especially given that we asked for their advice,'' Mr Yang, who took over the cafe in June last year, said.
A health inspector had visited Cafe Garema in December. Mr Tranda said he told the inspector about a rotting floor in the upstairs food preparation and storage area - a result of rival kitchens being located underneath - and advised that it would be fixed by mid-March.
''They gave us three months to replace the floor,'' he said.
Then in mid-March, two weeks before the cafe closed, an inspection was conducted and Mr Yang was issued with a notice about a continued cockroach problem and a stainless steel splashback.
''They didn't find cockroaches,'' Mr Tranda said.
''He asked, 'How's the cockroach situation?' I said, 'Well, all the traps are still in place. I'm changing them every three days. We're spraying every day and I'm still bombing.'
''He didn't say anything further.
''Bar maybe a dirty knife on the bench, some breadcrumbs on the floor and something had spilt in the cool room just before lunch … we assumed they were the only problems we were going to have.''
Mr Tranda believes the service should have provided more timely advice and given the cafe two weeks to fix many of the ''five minute jobs'' contained in the orders.
''Why last Friday did they make all of these decisions, when the gentleman had been here two weeks before and it says on [the notice] cockroaches and a stainless steel splashback,'' he said.
He said the installation of two handbasins - not raised as a problem until the day of the closure - would take a few more days as they were being ordered from Melbourne. A replacement for a broken upstairs ceiling fan would also take several days because local stores did not have the correct size.
Mr Yang and Mr Tranda hope to reopen as early as Wednesday.