Britain’s ‘most unwelcoming’ shop owner offers dummies to anti-mask customers

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A shop owner who refuses to allow unmasked customers into her "unwelcoming" shop offers dummies to those upset about the policy.

Maria Burke owns North Cave News, in North Cave, Yorkshire and has plastered the door of her shop with signs warning about the mask-on rule.

She has defended the policy at the shop, which has been in her family for more than 40 years, despite claims on social media suggesting it's "unwelcoming" and like something from dark comedy The League of Gentlemen.

However Ms Burke is unrepentant and has nine signs warning about mask wearing in her shop, according to The Hull Daily Mail, despite laws in England requiring them to be worn in shops and other indoor settings being lifted on July 19.

One sign has two dummies attached and says: If you want to argue and kick-off please save your breath I've heard it all. But please feel free to take one of these."

Shopper Andrew Ellison blasted her shop on Twitter, telling his followers: "Is this the most unwelcoming shop in the UK? And they are willing to discriminate against the medically exempt. Welcome to the UK. There are times when I don't recognise my country."

However social media user Jo Wilson-Scaife said: "How dare you put this on social media this lady hasn’t had a day off in the whole of the pandemic, she has worked hard for the local community delivering all over our area, and you come along and tweet this. You are nothing but a bully! This lady is trying to keep everyone safe."

Maria said throughout the pandemic she has been targeted by anti-maskers, and some customers have even thrown things at her.

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She said: "Honestly if you'd heard what I have been called. We have put ourselves out and tried to keep open and ourselves safe and open for the locals, and we get criticisms like this. I am really upset.

"I've had people coming in and saying they can't wear one and then pulling one out of their pocket, or builders who claim they have asthma, and then pull their t-shirt over their faces, what's the difference? I have asthma and I wear one."

Ms Burke said she wants to protect her elderly customers who she has been looking after throughout the pandemic, and hasn’t had a day off since it began.

She added: "We need to keep looking after each other. It's selfishness otherwise, people might have someone vulnerable at home that they're protecting."

However, Mr Allison was unrepentant about his viewpoint, adding: "It's no longer a legal requirement to wear masks, and as I alluded to in my tweet, the evidence that mask wearing is effective in reducing transmission is not there.

"She shouldn't treat potential customers as babies."

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