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Health officials became hot at the Durango yogurt shop



Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango town is facing possible enforcement actions after allegedly offering a discount to customers who come to the store without wearing a mask.

“This one is a bit different than the usual complaint,” Brian Devine told San Juan Basin Public Health.

Earlier this week, Top Na allegedly posted on Facebook that it would offer a 10% discount on anyone who enters and says “Happy Columbus Day,” a clear push for the Indigenous Day movement.

The post went on to say: “And like always 10% discount for no masks !! Merica !!”

In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-1

9, masks are required by state law in indoor spaces where social distance cannot be maintained.

Soon, a flood of complaints came to the SJBPH portal for reporting violations of public health orders. As of Thursday morning, 76 complaints had been filed against Top That, 58 of those since Monday.

Complaints also include numerous photos of staff members and customers wearing masks inside the store.

Store owner Ryan Bartholomew did not respond to requests for comment. As of Thursday, Top Facebook has removed the entire Facebook page.

SJBPH consulted on Thursday morning with a local enforcement group formed to address issues of public health violations. The group is made up of public health organizations, local law enforcement and licensing municipalities.

A Facebook post from Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango.

Courtesy of La Plata County

Health officials became hot at the Durango yogurt shop

A Facebook post from Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango.

Courtesy of La Plata County

SJBPH also requested assistance from the state Attorney’s Office and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to discuss possible enforcement actions at the yogurt shop.

“This is more serious than violating the PHO (public health orders) through ignorance or lack of management control,” San Juan Basin Public Health wrote in a statement to The Durango Herald. “And SJBPH looks at all the legal options available to stop That Top from deliberately creating a public health risk.”

Devine said the health department receives complaints about businesses that do not comply with public health orders on a daily basis, but in most cases, they are for minors. guilt, like a person wearing no mask at a grocery store.

Those situations can be resolved by talking to store owners and having ways to resolve the issue, and for the most part, businesses trying to comply with public health orders, said Devine.

A photo showing a sports team inside Top That Frozen Yogurt with no face mask. The yogurt shop seems to offer a 10% discount to anyone who does not wear a face mask inside the store. The San Juan Basin Health Department has received dozens of complaints.

Courtesy of La Plata County

Health officials became hot at the Durango yogurt shop

A photo showing a sports team inside Top That Frozen Yogurt with no face mask. The yogurt shop seems to offer a 10% discount to anyone who does not wear a face mask inside the store. The San Juan Basin Health Department has received dozens of complaints.

Courtesy of La Plata County

An employee of Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango town works behind the counter without a mask, apparently violating state public health orders.

Courtesy of La Plata County

Health officials became hot at the Durango yogurt shop

An employee of Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango town works behind the counter without a mask, apparently violating state public health orders.

Courtesy of La Plata County

It is very rare for a business to intentionally and knowingly violate and continue to violate health orders. Devine estimates that there are nearly half a dozen opportunities for businesses taking the course since the pandemic began in March.

SJBPH refused to release the names of each business that deliberately violated health orders. As of Thursday, no business had been issued a copy or had a license for health order violations, the health department said.

But in those situations, SJBPH will meet with the local enforcement team to discuss the best course of action.

One of the more public protests involves the Farmers Fresh Market in Ignacio, which does not require customers or staff members to wear masks. SJBPH consulted with the state Attorney’s Office for assistance with the next steps.

“We want people outside the community to have the opportunity to shop safely,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health.

Farmers Fresh Market manager Amos Lee said he allowed his staff members and customers to make their own decisions about whether to wear a mask and it should not be up to businesses to enforce the order.

“We support each other to make their own decisions from the beginning, and we will continue to do that,” he said.

Lee said many people are divided about whether masks are effective in slowing the spread of the virus, and it is about a 50-50 split between staff members and customers who go to the store wearing a cap in the face.

“It’s horrible and it causes a lot of controversy,” he said. “All this division within the community, it’s not a good thing at all.”

Studies have shown people are 20 times more likely to catch COVID-19 indoors than outdoors, Jollon said, and when it comes to the greatest risk it can spread to businesses, including employees.

“These businesses create the greatest risk to their own workers,” Jollon said.

And when COVID-19 spread to staff members, those people were carrying the virus into their homes, resulting in further infection and community transmission, and prolonging the pandemic, Jollon said.

Masks are believed to help slow the spread of the virus, even though wearing masks has become a national political issue.

Tim Walsworth, executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District, said a state order requiring a mask has helped businesses get the message across to customers, but it puts staff members at a disadvantage. place.

“It puts businesses in a funky spot where they have to give up a customer,” he said. “In some situations, it can be very confrontational if either side wants to make a point.”

In fact, there was a flare up in putting the mask on Durango.

In August, a 23-year-old Durango woman allegedly punched a man in the face after the woman issued a statement to several people not wearing face masks at O’Reilly Auto Parts.

The man punched in the face was identified as Bartholomew, owner of Top That.

A crowd inside Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango town, many without masks.

Courtesy of La Plata County

Health officials became hot at the Durango yogurt shop

A crowd inside Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango town, many without masks.

Courtesy of La Plata County

A sign at Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango town said, “your mask is worthless like Dean Brookie,” referring to the mayor of Durango.

Courtesy of La Plata County

Health officials became hot at the Durango yogurt shop

A sign at Top That Frozen Yogurt in Durango town said, “your mask is worthless like Dean Brookie,” referring to the mayor of Durango.

Courtesy of La Plata County

The icy yogurt shop seems to have been transformed into a political lightning in Durango town after putting up political signs and flags for various candidates, including Trump-Pence and Lauren Boebert, running for the 3rd Congressional District.

Earlier this month, Durango School District 9-R students were seen shouting and making vulgar gestures at people inside the store at a rally that was supposed to be climate change.

And just this week, the Indigenous People march in Durango town unleashed counterprotester outside the yogurt shop, some of whom wore Trump uniforms and shouted “USA.”

In a Facebook post that has since been removed, Top That wrote that counterprotesters are not affiliated with or supported by the store.

“We do not condone the use of hate speech, such as name calling and / or vulgar gestures from people outside the store,” the post said.

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