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Greenwood brewery responds after customer threatens staff over mask policy

MashCraft Greenwood said someone made violent threats toward the staff because the person didn't want to wear a mask.

GREENWOOD, Ind. — MashCraft Brewing closed its Greenwood location early Thursday evening after a customer threatened staff over wearing a mask. 

The brewery shared the news on Twitter, saying someone made violent threats toward the staff because the person didn't want to wear a mask. 

MashCraft Brewing also said the person made threatening phone calls after leaving the building, which resulted in the decision to close for the evening to protect the staff.

Each of MashCraft's three locations will operate as normal on Friday. MashCraft released a statement about the incident Friday:

"At MashCraft, we take the health and safety of our staff and patrons very seriously. We are working closely with the Greenwood Police Department to continue to ensure a safe environment. All MashCraft locations will operate today with normal business hours.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, at each of our three locations, MashCraft has complied with the mask and social distancing mandates set forth by city and state officials. Signs outlining our policy and expectations are posted throughout each location, including prominently at points of entry.

We appreciate the community's concern for this issue and sensitivity to our staff’s privacy. MashCraft will continue to adhere to guidelines set forth by city and state officials, and ask that our patrons do their part in upholding these policies, as well."

Credit: MashCraft Brewing
MashCraft has a sign at its entry telling all customers masks are required.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order July 24, mandating masks statewide. During a press conference on Oct. 21, Holcomb said he is planning to keep the mask mandate going for the "foreseeable future."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidance for employers and their workers about how to deal with these situations if it appears they will turn violent. One of the key pieces of advice: walk away. 

Employers are encouraged to get ahead of a potential employee-customer encounter by using advanced notices such as signs, advertising and offering social distancing options such as curbside pickup.

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Workers should receive training on recognizing threats — things like yelling and swearing, clenched fists, heavy breathing, pacing and a fixed stare — the CDC says. The more clues that are seen, the greater the risk of violence. Training should also include conflict resolution and nonviolent responses, the CDC said.

If staffing permits, CDC says two workers should work as a team to encourage the customer to follow COVID-19 policies. 

But even with that, things can escalate. In those situations, the CDC says workers should not argue with a potentially violent customer. They should contact a manager and, if possible, go to a safe area -- preferably a room that locks from the inside and has a second exit. The CDC also says not to force anyone who appears to be upset or violent to follow the store's COVID-19 policies.