Cynthiana restaurant faces criticism for enforcing mask mandate

Published: Oct. 31, 2020 at 3:35 PM EDT
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CYNTHIANA, Ky. (WKYT) - A Cynthiana restaurant is facing harsh criticism online after the owner says employees enforced the mask mandate.

Karey Riddell, the owner of Burley Market and Cafe, said she has been stressed complying with new restrictions. “We’re operating at 50 percent capacity trying to pay 100 percent of our bills.”

Riddell says the Burley Market and Cafe is taking another hit because employees enforced the mask mandate. Now the restaurant is being criticized online and receiving several poor reviews.

“It was a new names appearing with new reviews and it was obvious that they were fake accounts because they had just been created. Just one right after another. And it was attacks on that we discriminate, attacks that there were spiders in our food, attacks that there were unclean restrooms,” she explained.

Riddell believes it started with an incident with an unhappy customer. She says the person had a medical reason to not wear a mask, but they left before she had to chance to explain what they do in that situation. “Our policy is to just kind of step aside or ask them to step outside if it’s too crowded so that we can kind of make a plan for safely sitting them and keeping other guests safe.”

Riddell said it was a small isolated incident.

Other than that, people have understood the new restaurant restrictions. Many loyal customers jumped to her defense online and left several positive reviews to outweigh the negatives. Riddell explained that reviews can’t be deleted by owners.

“It’s been heartwarming. My staff has all day long been reading these positive reviews and they were just blown away by the support that we got.” It’s that positivity that lifted Riddell up when things were tearing her down.

“A little kindness goes a very long way.”

Riddell is asking people to be patient with all businesses as they adjust to new restrictions.

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