Ice cream shop owner defends teenage staff yelled at over mask mandate

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SPRING LAKE, Mich. (WOOD) — Mask requirements have become a source of division around the country, including in Michigan.

Several different groups of customers have caused disruptions for one ice cream shop, so the owner defended her employees online.

“I am not political. I’m an ice cream store,” said Kelly Larson, owner of The Front Porch ice cream in Spring Lake. “We serve everyone and we’re happy to do so. I’m thrown in the middle of this as a small business owner.”

The statewide mask mandate has been in place for nearly two weeks, and it’s become a political sore spot, especially for jobs handling the public. Enforcing the mandate often falls on teenage workers.

After customer confrontations with her young staff started becoming the norm, Larson called those people out on the ice cream shop’s Facebook page.

“I don’t know what to do with them, quite honestly,” she said. “And neither do 16 to 20 year olds. That’s not their job and it shouldn’t be.”

In the post, she says police had to be called to remove one set of customers from the store after they took their frustrations out on her employees — many of them teens.

“I have to protect my employees, I have to protect my customers and I have to stay in business,” Larson said. “And if I don’t follow the law, I don’t get to stay in business.”

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