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Madison restaurant owner says employees don't need to wear masks

The owner of Chuck Wagon BBQ tells WAAY 31, clear barriers are in place to separate customers and employees and are enough protection to not need masks.

Posted: Jun 19, 2020 7:25 PM
Updated: Jun 20, 2020 6:58 PM

A Madison restaurant owner is saying his employees do not need to wear masks with the precautions they are currently taking to protect customers from coronavirus.

But the state health department says it will need to inspect the restaurant to determine if that's true.

This all comes after one concerned customer brought up the no-mask issue over Facebook.

One woman named Sheridan Schafer walked into Chuck Wagon BBQ and once she saw no employees were wearing masks, she walked right out.

The owner tells WAAY 31 that clear barriers are in place to separate customers and employees, and are enough protection to not need masks.

"They don't know what exactly is going on how we have things set up, they only see what they want to see," said owner of Chuck Wagon BBQ, Mike Holley.

Holley says his employees are doing everything they can to keep coronavirus from spreading.

"Everyone here is safe, so the masks are unnecessary," said Holley.

Customer Sheridan Schafer disagrees.

After seeing no employees wearing masks at the restaurant, she reached out to Holley, saying it was "bothersome" and asked who she should contact about the issue.

In a Facebook message, Holley said he was tested for coronavirus seven days ago and asked Schafer when she was tested. He also explained the other precautions the restaurant is taking.

Holley said, "If this is not satisfactory, please buy your BBQ elsewhere and we will all be healthier."

"For them to respond to her question, which if you look, what she sent them was not mean or mean-spirited at all, I thought the response was a little unwarranted, because she was asking a legitimate question about public safety," said customer David Giambrone.

Schafer did not want to go on camera, but her friend, David Giambrone, said he was shocked by the response.

"I was very disappointed that a business that serves the community would feel the need to be negative," said Giambrone.

The state’s Safer at Home Order says “Each employee shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times while in regular interaction with patrons or guests.”

Holley says his employees take their temperatures before work and there's a see-through divider between all customers and employees, which he says keeps everyone safe without the need of masks.

"We don't give it to the customer because we stand on our side of the barrier and they stay on theirs," said Holley.

The state health department says if anyone has an issue with any restaurant's safety procedures, they can contact their local health department and a investigator will be sent to that location.

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