GARDEN CITY, Idaho — Amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, local businesses are still doing their part to prevent the spread of the virus by requiring customers to wear a mask. One local plant nursery said it is experiencing some backlash because of it.
Since the start of the pandemic, North End Organic Nursery in Garden City has a mask policy for its store.
“We’ve decided that in order to keep our employees safe and patrons safe until the CDC says otherwise we’re going to wear masks,” said Lindsay Schramm, owner of the nursery.
Schramm said they’ve experienced their share of resistance from people, but a recent situation on Saturday has targeted the business for its policy.
Schramm said a woman was asked by an employee to wear a mask while in the nursery. The woman refused and the employee flagged down a police officer driving near the nursery to help de-escalate the situation.
“She started videoing all around and saying we were discriminating against people with disabilities and that we call on the cops on her and basically practicing harassment,” Schramm said.
Schramm said the video was shared on social media, which prompted her to speak out and state they don’t discriminate against people that can’t wear masks for valid medical reasons.
“For those truly people that can’t wear masks we will open the stores before or after hours and allowed them to come shop when there are no other patrons here and we can socially distance from them while they did what they need to do,” Schramm said. “In the very beginning, we actually offer appointments so we can regulate how many people came in here and those people who are medically fragile or unable to wear a mask we always say just communicate that need to us we can make that opportunity for you to come in and shop. Very few people actually take us up on that which makes me also feel this is a lot less about actually issue wearing a mask and a lot more about making a statement.”
Schramm posted on Facebook that the nursery is seeing backlash over requiring masks in their establishments. She said that negative reviews online have appeared. Despite what they are going through, since sharing their message on Facebook there's been a lot of support from the community.
"For all of us here, that gave us that extra energy and strength to realize that even though it's hard we are doing the right thing," Schramm said.