Customers and mask requirements in restaurants

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — They say the customer is always right but is that the case when it comes to public safety?

As local restaurants begin to reopen indoor dining, some are experiencing problems with customers who refuse to wear masks. But servers at one Scranton restaurant say one reluctant customer may have gone too far.

“It was distressing,” Gavin Esham, a server and manager at Bar Pazzo in Scranton said describing an incident with a customer Saturday evening. “There was already a lot of back and forth at that point because they didn’t want to wear masks.”

He claims the customer grew combative when staff asked the party of six to wear masks.
He says the host even offered to provide them. But according to Esham the situation escalated, and the customer grabbed a server. The owners posted about the incident to Bar Pazzo’s Facebook page, saying the customer went on to “fake sneeze at a hostess.”

” It just shows a lack of empathy for another human,” Esham said.

Esham says the situation was upsetting, especially given the fragile state of the service industry due to the pandemic.

“If anything goes wrong, if one of our employees gets sick, if somebody else gets sick in this restaurant, we’d have to shut down again. We barely survived this one, a second shutdown would kill us,” Esham said.

Other restaurants are facing similar challenges as they try to operate within the guidelines.

“It’s not us, It’s an executive order coming down from the governor, it’s one of those things we all have to follow the rules. If I have to wear a mask, you have to wear it until you’re seated down,” Beer Boys bartender Michael Rufus said.

According to the governor’s guidelines, customers are required to wear a mask when entering, exiting and walking through a restaurant. They are allowed to take their masks off once they get to their table. With their businesses and their health at stake, some owners are putting their foot down: No Mask. No Service.

They’re not going to serve you, they can’t serve you if you don’t have a mask on,” Rufus said.

According to the post, the customer scratched out gratuity on the bill, which was more than $200. Fellow service professionals started a GoFundMe to help make up for the server’s lost tips.

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