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Massachusetts shop says employee quit after reopening over lack of social distancing, harassment

A Massachusetts ice cream shop said it was forced to shutter a day after it reopened after customers used profanity with workers over social distancing guidelines.

Polar Ice Cream Parlour owner Mark Lawrence told CNN affiliate WFXT that one worker quit her job at the Mashpee business on the first day of reopening.

“One of my best workers quit yesterday at the end of her shift. She stuck it through her shift,” Lawrence said. “But the words she was called and the language, you wouldn’t even say in a men’s locker room. And to say it to a 17-year-old kid, they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Lawrence told the outlet that when the shop reopened, it asked customers to place orders an hour in advance, but that the request was largely ignored by customers who took their frustration out on staff.

“People have forgotten how to treat other human beings in the six or seven weeks that they’ve been confined to their homes,” he said. “They have no clue how to respect other human beings.”

“In 19 years of operation this is the lowest feeling I have ever felt,” Lawrence said in a Facebook post Friday.

In a later follow-up post, however, Lawrence thanked customers for what he said was an outpouring of support and said a GoFundMe had been established for the worker who walked off the job. By Sunday, he said, the shop had reopened and customers were following social-distancing rules.

“The underlying message here that gets lost, is how will other businesses reopen. There is no road map to follow. Years of being in business, no one has ever had to go through anything like this,” he wrote. “It’s like receiving a box from IKEA with a bunch of ‘stuff’ with no instructions and making something. What works for one business well might be a complete failure at another. Each business is unique in it’s [sic] own way.”

Tags Coronavirus economic reopening

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