BEREA, Ohioo — A Berea ice cream shop is getting a lot of support after the owner made a Facebook post, calling out customers who have taken out their anger and frustration on workers about the shop's mask policy.
Angela Brooks, the owner of Mootown Creamery, said the policy, which requires masks inside the store with exceptions for small children and those who cannot wear masks under CDC guidelines, is in place to keep customers and employees safe.
But that hasn't stopped some customers from lashing out.
"Every single day, we have somebody coming in, sometimes multiple people, causing a scene, yelling at the girls, creating an issue," Brooks said.
Brooks said she "kind of just snapped" after it happened a number of times, especially after what happened earlier this week.
"We had someone on Monday night call the girls un-American and paranoid, and tell them that them wearing masks was not right," Brooks said.
Brooks said the workers are primarily high school and college-age students and that for a lot of them, it's their first job.
"I know some of the girls have excused themselves to the bathroom to cry, or cried on their way home, and that’s heartbreaking. Nobody should do that to a child," Brooks said.
Eva Mihelich, who has worked at the shop for about a year and a half and is heading to college in the fall, said being treated that way is "pretty disheartening."
"No one’s enjoying it, like no one thinks this is fun or anything," Mihelich said of the mask policy and the backlash workers are getting. "Like [COVID-19] ruined my senior year of high school and everything, so like the last thing I want is for someone to come in and yell at me and that I’m the problem."
Still, Mihelich said most customers have been good. She hopes the ones who haven't will keep this in mind: "I would just kind of say that we’re all in this together, and that if we can just all do our part, then things can be easier for us."
Since Brooks posted on Facebook, she said the shop has been overwhelmed with support, including large tips from some customers. Someone even left a $100 bill in the tip jar while News 5 was at the shop on Wednesday.
Debbie Likins-Fowler, who lives in North Ridgeville, made it a point to stop by Mootown Creamery while out in Berea Wednesday.
She said masks help keep her husband, who has a compromised immune system after being in remission from cancer, safe.
"The COVID-19 would be so devastating if he were to get it," Likins-Fowler said.
She emphasized that wearing a mask protects other people, not the wearer.
"I feel like I wear it to protect others from me," Likins-Fowler said. "Hopefully I don’t have anything, but if we can’t do what we need to do for each other, we’re in trouble."
Brooks is asking all customers to be respectful and kind.
"It’s OK if you don’t want to wear a mask. We respect that, we understand that," Brooks said. "We’re just asking you to stay outside of the store, order online, utilize some of those other ways of getting your ice cream."
In response to comments on the post, Brooks has set up a virtual tip jar for her Mootown Creamery employees. All the money will be distributed evenly among the store’s young workers.
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