HARRISONBURG, Va. (WWBT) - A Virginia business owner claims that state Senator Amanda Chase threatened to sue them over their mask policy.
Katharine Nye Pellerito posted on Facebook that she and her husband have been trying to juggle the challenges of 2020 as small business owners, including the guidelines from the state surrounding COVID-19.
“Every day we try like our livelihoods depend on it— because they do. We don’t often have face to face interactions with our elected officials. If we did, we would certainly look for guidance and support. Last night, we had that opportunity,” she said in a post that features a picture of her family.
The Harrisonburg business owner claims that Chase went into their restaurant and threatened to sue them over their mask policy.
“She had a note from her doctor, claiming a medical exemption. She recorded my husband while he was explaining to her our policy and got on the phone with her lawyer while in our restaurant,” Pellerito said.
Pellerito said that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, they are required to offer reasonable accommodations for medical conditions, and offering curbside pickup is the option they chose to offer in an effort to protect staff, customers and slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Whether our policy is the right or wrong approach, the treatment we received and the behavior she demonstrated making sure we knew who she was, was nothing short of appalling. Decency is the first attribute we should be able to expect from our elected representatives,” the post read.
Chase responded, also in a Facebook post featuring a picture of her family, by claiming that on two separate occasions there were store employees who tried to deny her service because she refused to wear a mask due to an underlying health condition.
“Once I provided a letter from my doctor I was finally provided service, but not without being harassed and belittled in front of other store patrons. I could have just allowed them to deny me service and walk away but then I thought of all of those with underlying health conditions and those with disabilities who would not challenge the denial for service and be forced to walk away denied and humiliated,” Chase said.
Chase said she feels for small business owners who have been threatened with losing their license or with aggressive fines if they refuse to enforce the statewide mask mandate. But continued to say that not everyone can wear a mask and they should not feel “demoralized, demonized or forced to explain their medical condition.”
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