The owner of Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream in Exeter, NH, is going to bat for "maskless" baseball players and other children who hit some rocky road while trying to enjoy a summer sweet treat.
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An image of kids in baseball uniforms next to her shop without masks and not practicing social distancing -- encouraged during the coronavirus pandemic-- sent with an accompanying note of complaint is what put owner Arielle Wolfe over the edge and to social media.
“Please stop with the mask drama. We cannot control what people are or are not wearing on a public sidewalk. Stillwells is not the dictator of Water Street. Do not send us pictures of the local youth sports teams trying to enjoy a treat after practice and complain about them. They are kids trying to enjoy themselves,” she wrote on Facebook. “If you don’t like large groups of Exeter little kids trying to get an ice cream, come back later. Don’t take photos from your car and Facebook them to us because some kids aren’t wearing masks.”
Wolfe didn’t just take the kids’ side, she wants them to come back for free ice cream.
“I just felt bad there was all this negativity over something that should be a good thing. Everybody has been through so much and everybody has been stressed out. Kids were pulled out of school. There’s been no sense of normalcy for months,” she said.
Wolfe tries to keep order in her store but she said she can only do what she can.
“It seems like a lot of people are super nice, and then there are some people who are very intense in a negative way,” she said.
New Hampshire experienced a small increase in the number of coronavirus infections over the last one to two weeks, but it’s not believed to be a surge, the state epidemiologist said Tuesday.
Dr. Benjamin Chan said on average, the state has reported about 30 new infections per day. He said going back three to five weeks, it was about 20 to 25 infections per day.
“We are going to see the numbers continue to fluctuate up and down, that’s expected. We do not currently believe we are seeing another surge of COVID-19 in our state,” Chan said at a news conference. He said the percent positivity rate of tests and hospitalizations remain stable and low.
Chan added, “we believe that lower levels of community transmission continue to occur in many parts of the state, and for that reason, we need everybody to continue to protect themselves and their families, and help to prevent further spread of COVID-19 within the communities.”
Wolfe said she takes personal responsibility for her store but she refuses to control beyond her domain.
“People want us to police every single person with an ice cream cone on Water Street and tell them where they can stand. I can’t do that. I can only control what I can control, and that’s what’s happening inside my store,” she said Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.