KENT — A Kent bakery owner is defending herself and her business after a sign posted in the window of her store seeming to indicate the business would not respect laws or orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic caused controversy on social media.
Owner Cary James said she hadn’t heard about the controversy until a TV news crew showed up at the bakery on Tuesday morning to interview her. She said she wished people had asked her about her opinion and seen the other signs in her bakery, which promote wearing a mask and standing 6 feet apart.
The flyer seen in the window of Stahl’s Bakery on East Main Street said “The Second Lockdown isn’t happening. When you gave a pass to rioters and looters, you gave up your right to boss around citizens. No more masks. No more frantic warnings about viruses. No more stay at home or closed businesses. You have entered the new age of patriotic disobedience. We have no intention of respecting any new little laws or civil orders.”
By Tuesday afternoon, it had been covered up by a display that says “America Land of the Free Because of the Brave.”
“It seems like the honest and mature thing would be to say here’s my opinion,” James said, adding she wished people had spoken to her about it directly.
James said she assumes people who come in without masks have good medical reasons not to do so, whether it be PTSD or another issue. Her business has long followed guidelines for the pandemic, she said, including frequent handwashing and cleaning of the bakery.
James said she thought it was unfair that violent protests that destroyed businesses were able to continue during the pandemic. She said her heart went out to Corbo’s Bakery at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, whose windows were damaged during a Black Lives Matter protest in June.
“This isn’t something I thought I’d have to defend,” James said.
James said her business had lost money because of the pandemic, including lost sales for Easter, graduation parties and Mother’s Day. But she said they had gotten some new foot traffic for sales and also had some sales for birthday parties.
James said she hopes people would choose her bakery for the quality of her food, not because of her beliefs.
Kent Health Commissioner Joan Seidel, health commissioner for the City of Kent Health Department, said the health department did not receive any complaints about Stahl’s Bakery that she was aware of but many people had sent the department a photo of the sign.
She said there was a previously scheduled routine inspection at the bakery on Tuesday afternoon.
“We will continue to provide education and see what barriers exist for people to be compliant with the governor’s directive,” Seidel said.
Source: Thanks https://www.dispatch.com/news/20200716/kent-bakery-removes-defiant-sign-in-window