Cinotti’s Bakery started a firestorm with its face mask policy – WTLV-WJXX

Restaurant News

On Tuesday the owners of Jacksonville Beach Cinotti’s Bakery posted on its Facebook account their policy for the use of face masks. The backlash was sharp.

As the State of Florida re-opens for business there are concerns about when and if the COVID-19 pandemic will get worst.

The state has slowly eased the restrictions while encouraging business owners to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines.

On Tuesday, the owners of Jacksonville Beach Cinotti’s Bakery posted on its Facebook account their policy for the use of face masks. The bakery said:

“Along with social distancing, we have also instituted a policy regarding Voluntary Mask use … It is the Cinotti family belief that the option to wear a mask should be left to each individual, We have face masks available to our employees, however, unless a Mandatory order is given by the FL Health department, no employee will be forced to wear one …”

Cinotti’s, a local icon, has been a beaches institution for 30 years.

The backlash on Facebook was sharp and mostly aimed at the business.

“‘I’ll see you when the virus is gone,” wrote Kevin Gay.

Jonathan Odell wrote, “It is a common courtesy and an act of concern for the welfare of others.” 

There were more than 500 comments, some supportive.

“You keep doing you,” wrote Jason Hulsey.

Mike Cinotti is the owner. The mild-mannered baker told On Your Side he does not do the postings, but he is surprised by the clap back. 

“We practice social distancing and if the Department of Health tells me wearing a face mask is required, we will do it,” he said. “We have such good customers they will stand in the gap for us when we are attacked wrongfully.”

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Some customers were aware of the social media controversy, others were not. But overall those we spoke with support the bakery’s position. 

“The mask only helps if you are sick and if you’re sick you are to stay home,” said John Michael.    

Kim Clayton said she has confidence in the store and its commitment to public safety.

“If you are not comfortable with it, then do not come,” she said.

Leo Ballas who said he no longer uses Facebook stands behind the bakery’s decision.”

“As long as people stay far enough from each other I think that is fine,” he said.

Is masks use required during this pandemic?

The World Health Organization does not recommend face mask use if you are healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control held the same position, but on May 6 made a reversal. The CDC now recommends using face masks while in public.

As for Florida, the governor’s executive order requires barbershops and salons to use a face mask and practice social distancing.

A spokesperson at the Florida Emergency office told First Coast News the use of a face mask is not required statewide in businesses like bakeries or restaurants.

Mike Cinotti plans to ignore the criticism on Facebook for now and focus on his donuts and pastries.

“My customers are loyal and I will let them fight the fight on this issue,” he said.

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