Customers spit, kick, and curse at Triangle restaurant employees when asked to put on a mask

Diane Wilson Image
Thursday, August 27, 2020
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It's a state mandate, but many restaurants and business owners say it's a simple request that is bringing out the worst in people.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Before you even walk into a restaurant, you see the signs on the door: wear a mask.

It's a state mandate, but many restaurants and business owners say it's a simple request that is bringing out the worst in people.

"My husband was spit in his face and kicked. I had other people that when literally all the employees were doing was this motion, okay, pull it up for a second, and my employees were cursed at," said Jocelyn Midgett. Midgett, owner of The Lodge at Cypress Manor in Cary and also the meal delivery service Living Fit, said there are customers who don't want to follow North Carolina's mask mandate and take it out on her employees. But, she said if she doesn't enfore the requirement, her business could suffer.

"If we didn't follow the mandate, we can be shut down or liquor license can be pulled," Midgett said. "I mean that's not really going to help us."

Midgett said it was a struggle just getting their doors open, but then to deal with rude customers refusing to follow the state mask mandate was a double whammy.

"We ended up finding a private security guard, so that was an added expense," Midgett said. "So obviously, we're already paying extra for PPE for all my staff and everybody and we offered masks at the door if somebody did not have it."

In the end, her expenses were too high, and Midgett had to close the doors to The Lodge at Cypress Manor. To try and keep things afloat, she and her husband are still running Living Fit, as she said meal delivery service has taken off with more people at home.

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Rudy's Pub & Grill in Apex also said they are dealing with angry customers.

Owners Rob and Amy Bankoski said while the majority of their customers have been great and have shown them lots of support during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some who make it difficult because of the state's mask mandate.

"They are just irritated about the whole situation and they don't want to follow the rules," Rob Bankoski said.

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The Bankoski's even posted on Rudy's Facebook page about one experience where a customer ignored a bartender's repeated request to put on a mask while walking around the pub and then cursed at the hostess when she asked.

"What is it possibly accomplishing, cursing at a 16-year-old girl just for asking you to put a mask on, like it's--I get people are frustrated, but take it up with the people who make the decisions. We're just doing what we've been asked to do," Rob Bankoski said.

Restaurant owners around the Triangle encouraged people to work together--both those working in restaurants and those going out to eat.

"At the end of the day, it's not going to hurt anybody to wear a mask from the door to the table," Rob Bankoski said. "We can go to bed at night and sleep well knowing we're doing everything we can to try to keep our customers safe to try to keep our staff safe."

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