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Local business receives backlash over Facebook post

The Tippecanoe County Health Department is responding to a Facebook post from a local business stating it would not require employees to wear masks. News 18's Marvin Bills spoke with the health department today about the ramifications a business could have in this situation.

Posted: Jul 13, 2020 6:19 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—"I was just surprised that they would be so blunt," said Ashley Sisson.

It's a conversation that started over a Facebook post.

"That was one of things that surprised me," said Sisson.

Fat Bottom Donuts in Lafayette is receiving a lot of backlash from customers over a political post about masks. Stating that it doesn't require employees or customers to wear masks and will not be. Ashley Sisson was a customer there a few times.

"Typically businesses keep their beliefs out of the main stream," said Sisson. "Because that could alienate a lot of your customers by stating your beliefs on things. Then people that don't believe that will not go to your business."

The post left many wondering if businesses had the authority to veto certain provisions during a pandemic. Dr. Jeremy Adler with the Tippecanoe County Health Department said no.

"The governor's executive order requires that employees of restaurants and in the food service industry wear a face covering," said Adler.

He said there's a three step process if a business chooses not to follow certain executive orders. The first being a written warning. The Second is a fine up to $200 and the third would revoking its permit.

"We've never had to go beyond that though to solve this sort of problem so I'm hopeful that's the case in this situation also," said Adler.

While Governor Eric Holcomb has given local health departments the authority to enforce certain provisions such as wearing a mask, Dr. Adler said it's the last thing the Tippecanoe County Health Department wants to do.

"We are here to help community members," said Adler. "We prefer for our role to primarily be education guidance, assistance, rather than an enforcement sort of agency."

News 18 reached out to Fat Bottom Donuts and they did not respond. Fat Bottom Donuts has since deleted its Facebook page and taken down the post that sparked the conversation.

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