Massachusetts [USA], May 12 (ANI): An ice cream parlour in Massachusetts temporarily closed and one of its employees quit after the owner said his staff faced an onslaught of harassment on reopening for the first time over the weekend after being shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cape Cod's Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour in Mashpee stayed closed despite being able to operate under guidelines for social distancing at restaurants, The Washington Post reported.
Owner Mark Lawrence told Boston 25 News, a local media channel, that he wanted to wait until opening would be safe, and he chose the Friday before Mother's Day to welcome customers back.
The TV station reported that Lawrence had asked customers to place orders an hour before pickup, but on the first day back, his limited staff faced harsh comments from angry customers who demanded ice cream.
The owner was quoted as saying that one of his best workers, a teenager at a Mashpee, quit the job yesterday. The worker "stuck it through her shift," Lawrence told local media, despite facing language that "you wouldn't even say in a men's locker room."
"All of the sudden, word spread like wildfire, and nobody listened to what we told them," Lawrence told Boston 25 News on Saturday.
About 7 p.m., Lawrence posted on Facebook: "STOP CALLING."
"People have forgotten how to treat other human beings in the six or seven weeks that they've been confined to their homes," the owner of the ice cream parlour, which is famous for serving award-winning desserts in Cape Cod, complained further.
Lawrence told Boston 25 News that he spent Saturday serving a smaller group of customers, many of whom did not get their orders Friday. He called it a "vastly improved operation" in a late-night post, thanking people for following the rules and placing their orders well ahead of pickup time.
"There were minimal people just pulling up and expecting to be served immediately, they chose to place an order and return or sit and wait," he wrote. "As one customer said, 'I can sit here in my car, or sit home and watch TV.' "
"We will continue to tweak our efforts and eventually try again to open full speed ahead," he added.
Employees in the service sector are on the front lines of a transformed landscape for stores and restaurants, one that's left some customers frustrated. Many small businesses are reopening with skeleton staffs and tough new rules to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus.
As Massachusetts and other states move to restart economies devastated by the coronavirus, Lawrence suggested in a Facebook post last weekend that his biggest concern was whether customers would return safely. He shared a restaurant owner's breakdown of all his anxieties about going back to business.
Lawrence right now is doing limited orders and pondering the best way forward, according to his posts and local news interviews. (ANI)