Saskatchewan

Regina ice-cream shop gets a sweet response following anti-mask incident

According to staff who were working that evening, a group of around 20 people were gathered on the business’s porch without masks on and became angry when they were asked to wear them.

One worker says she was afraid the group would become violent

Dessart Sweets Ice Cream and Candy Store faced a group of angry customers not wanting to wear masks on May 26. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

It's something that many businesses have dealt with over the course of the pandemic: customers who refuse to follow the store's mask mandate. 

That's what happened on Wednesday night at Dessart Sweets Ice Cream & Candy Store in Regina. 

According to staff who were working that evening, a group of around 20 people were gathered on the business's porch — where guests are served ice cream through a window — without masks on. 

Cady Judge, who was working that evening, said she asked a man who wanted to order to put on a mask. 

Madeleine Bowen-Diaz and Cady Judge both say they're grateful for the support they've received from the community. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

"He immediately became defensive, and asked us why they have to wear masks. He attempted to hold up a 'mask exemption' card, which I had heard about online before and understood they were fake," Judge said. "I explained to him that I would need to see a doctor's note in order for him to be exempt from the policy."

At that point, she said, the group became angry, saying that the shop was "throwing away money" by refusing to serve them. According to Judge, one anti-masker swore at staff. 

"I became worried they would become violent and locked the door. My co-workers were still at the window and were saying: 'Sorry, that is just our policy,' and telling them to: 'Have a good night,'" Judge said.

A video of the incident taken by one of the angry customers was posted online and has received thousands of views. 

The person who took the video has requested that the CBC not include it for the safety of those in it.

Since then, workers at Dessart said they've received an outpouring of support from the community. 

Madeleine Bowen-Diaz was also working that night, and said that lots of people are coming by the store to show their support, messaging the shop on Facebook and posting good reviews online. 

"We really deeply appreciate the massive amount of support that we've been getting. Not only my co-workers and myself personally, but I know the store has also been getting quite a lot of support," Bowen-Diaz said.

"I'm so happy to be part of this community, and so grateful that this was the response that we got from an incident like [Wednesday's]." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Candice Lipski is a CBC reporter and associate producer based in Saskatoon. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from UBC. Follow her on Twitter @Candice_Lipski or send her a story idea at candice.lipski@cbc.ca.

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