I write this as a small business owner and one who has tried to support our local businesses through this pandemic.

Frederick County and the community has done a great job at continuing to support small businesses and encourage people to shop them. However, there also needs to be a respect from customers for the safety protocols each small business has chosen to put in place. These are based on very hard decisions each business has to make as it tries to protect its staff and customers, and still do some degree of business.

This weekend was an eye opener for me. At our business (pre-order, curbside pick-up only) we had a few customers who thought they were “entitled” to get out, walk around, hang out, and disregard all the safety protocols. Clearly they thought the rules didn’t apply to them and wanted to argue with staff when asked to comply. They thought it was all nonsense and as they were “good customers” they should be entitled to special treatment.

As a customer today, shopping local businesses, it was the same. I went to do a dairy pick-up with signs clearly saying “face masks required outside of your vehicle.” I think that means masks on one’s face — not in your hand or around your neck. There were folks taking their mask-less kids for a walk around the farm; old neighbors getting together to chat with no masks and no social distancing.

Customers need to understand that not one small business owner signed on to be the face-mask police. The decisions we make about the protocols for our businesses are very difficult, and are based on what we deem to be best for our staff and customers. Most likely you are ignorant as to what went into that decision. And regardless of your personal views and beliefs about how to deal with COVID-19 you need to respect the business owner’s decisions and support them in that. Remember, you have choices. If you are not willing to abide by a business’ protocol decisions — go elsewhere. We don’t need your entitled exceptionalism at this point. And we don’t need the added stress of trying to deal with people who think they are “entitled” to special treatment. Support your local businesses by complying with the protocols they have put in place.

(21) comments


I saw a good meme today. A road sign that said, ‘Road Closed. - Bridge Washed Out - But if you think your rights are being infringed, just keep driving”


A lot of people seem to think that if they can go into a store, that makes it public property, not private. No excuse really - would they insist on driving on a road that was closed for flooding and then insist on being rescued when their car flooded out and they were stranded on the roof? Well, yeah, actually, I'll be a lot of people would.


I had an interesting experience. I went into a small, family-owned specialty store in a neighboring state, happy to support a local business and grateful they were open, albeit with zero customer traffic around. I was wearing a mask, as I do everywhere these days. The employees of the store were not wearing masks, but were very friendly in following me closely through their small store.....offering their kind assistance and advice right at my side .....way too close for my comfort and way less than the social distancing guide. I quickly (and pleasantly) picked up the few things I needed and progressed to the register, , when I could see that the good 'ol boy at the register was just itchin' to have an involved conversation about "THE MASK". He started in by letting me know that "what's goin' on is nuthin' more than the flu"....and people are "overreacting" (implying me... the only customer in the store on a quiet day). So, you have smart, aware, and conscientious business owners such as the letter-writer.....and you have uninformed jerks, proven so by the fact that they'ed rather defend their ignorantly dug-in, skewed politcal beliefs than retain a respectful paying customer. Stupid and self-destructive, but truthfully, not surprising. At the end of the day...the political and cultural divisions will determine how each individual takes care of themselves during this pandemic...and whether the naysayers can dig deep and show a tiny modicum of respect for those who choose to take reasonable precautions that are different from theirs. Wanna guess if I'd ever support that small and locally owned business again?


Why on earth would you support a place like that? What was so important that you couldn't get online or delivered that went across state lines (you should quarantine for 14 days now) and then not only went into but supported a business like that?


Shortsighted and stupid of them to harass you. Well. They're consistent, I guess.


Depending on what they said, if it were bad enough, I'd have left the stuff on the counter and said "I changed my mind, I don't need any of this."


Superb LTE and thank you very much for writing it. The argument that people are making that they have special rights on private property to disregard mandatory health protocols is insane. But that's precisely what these people are. Bottom line, you transform yourself into a trespasser the moment you chose to deliberately flout a businesses rules and you also offer up your own confusion concerning where your constitutional rights as a U.S. Citizen end.




Today I read a letter from Ms. Carolann Mcconaughy from Mount Airy and HAD to reply! The point of her letter is that we ALL have an obligation to do what we can to prevent the spread of the virus. The small business owners are NOT the mask police. They are for the most part doing what any responsible citizen would do, FOLLOW the RULES! She is so COMPLETELY correct! I am so Happy to live in an area where MOST of the people are taking part in slowing the spread. PLEASE do NOT be STUPID! Follow the rules when you’re out! Even with things slowly coming back we ALL have to be careful!


People who self-identify as "good customers" are often jerks.


Carolann, I appreciate your perspective and if customers are on your private property, then they need to follow your rules. However, you mention that your business is curbside delivery only. If customers were outside on public property, then legally you can not require them to remain in their cars or wear masks. Further, I'd like to point out that the Governor's orders say that business owners must police their employees, but not their customers. He also reminds citizens that there are people who do not or should not wear masks for medical reasons. In my immediate family we have people who fall under that rule. Due to strict HIPPA laws, you could be fined for asking a person about their medical history. I respect your point of view. I ask that you be careful not to make assumptions regarding the actions of others and that you would understand that citizens have the right to follow the laws as they are written and not over-comply. Finally, I agree that you have the right to refuse business to customers who don't follow your rules. They, in turn, have the right to refuse to do business with you.


HIPAA (not HIPPA) doesn't really deal with with a pandemic. Without mass testing and contact tracing, we have to rely on people to self-report. HIPAA doesn't say that someone cannot self-report, but it doesn't encourage it either.

I'm not an attorney, but I don't see how Carolann could be fined if she ask someone to abide by the rules of the business; she's not inquiring one's medical history.


And when out in public you need to follow public rules/guidelines, etc. The only place you can ignore public rules/policies is on your own property. Those who choose not to follow the rules/guidelines should be required to wear a big scarlet "I" to identify them for others.

If someone is that infirmed that you can't wear a simple cloth mask, you probably shouldn't be out and about shopping due to the risk to oneself if one contracts the virus as it would likely be a death sentence.

I'd be perfectly happy if all those people who need to wear a scarlet "I" refuse to shop at stores who have safety rules.


If someone cannot wear a mask, then they should do all they can to stay away from others.


People who "fall under that rule" are at risk going out. Buy on their behalf, encourage online shopping.


Great LTE Ms. McConaughey. You have every right, as a private business, to set the conditions for entering and perusing your store. I wonder what those who are ridiculously trying to assert "their rights" would do with a "No shoes, no shirt, no service" sign. If they don't like it, as you said, they can take their business elsewhere.


Well said, Carolann. Thank you.


I couldn't agree more Carolann.


Absolutely! My sister owns a small business and stresses over every decision because a wrong move could mean losing her livelihood and a second generation family business. Don't be a jerk!

Greg F

Wearing a mask means pulling it up over your nose. Too many dont, making it pretty useless.


Thank you for your letter Carolann and thank you for adhering to your protocols. Many businesses post the signs that say one must wear a mask, but do not enforce it. Those selfish customers who do not follow store protocol do not seem to care or understand that if they are asymptomatic and cough or sneeze near something I want, and I pick it up, my risk of contraction has increased. It is simple, but simplicity is often overlooked when there are so many mixed messages about what is safe and not safe.

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