Virginia Beach ice cream shop defends enforcement of mask policy

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Posted at 4:12 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 17:39:33-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask, except where other laws are in place from federal or state law.

This means businesses will need to learn how to adjust to changes in regulations when they are announced by state officials.

Before this announcement, Gerald’s Ice Cream Bar in Virginia Beach said they had an incident involving customers who refused to wear masks. An employee told News 3 that several women left after he informed them they needed to wear a mask while ordering.

“She came back in arguing. I had asked her to leave once at that point. She sat down and was still filming, asking us questions,” explained Carter Bernhardt.

Co-owner Dianne Einhorn said they opened during the pandemic and they even had training so the employees would know how to feel comfortable asking customers to abide by state mandates.

“It’s very awkward asking someone to wear a mask when they don’t have one on when they walk in,” added Bernhardt. “I felt like we weren’t doing anything wrong because we were just enforcing the regular laws that everyone else abides by.”

The owners say that after the incident, one of the women posted hateful comments online as well as a video on social media.

"That’s very upsetting to me that someone to say that to a young person, say that to anybody," Einhorn said. "And to say that to a young boy who’s just standing there, wanting to know, ‘What can I get you?'"

A public relations agency representing that woman told News 3 she decided to take down the video and that she was receiving threats. She also said that since then, the woman has reached out to the shop via e-mail and phone.

Owner Gerald Einhorn said he does not know who threatened her, but they felt they were deliberately attacked.

“If somebody came in here and didn’t think something was right and personally wrote me a letter or called me, I would take it seriously and look at it,” Einhorn said. “That’s not the same thing as posting something online and trying to make me look foolish in the eyes of all the other customers, and it’s not helpful. Helpful is to tell me, 'This is what I observed - would you think about doing something about it?’”

On Thursday afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam’s office said Virginia will continue to follow CDC guidelines and that they will likely soon announce updates.

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