This happened at an Amish farmers’ market in Maryland. From the Star Democrat:
EASTON — Two food stands at the Amish Country Farmers Market in Easton that were shut down by the county government for violating COVID-19 masks orders will reopen on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
“We’re going to reopen,” said Eli Stoltzfus, who operates the Country Cheese and Salads stand at the Amish market on Marlboro Avenue.
The cheese, deli and dessert stand was ordered to shut down temporarily by the Talbot County Health Department on Thursday, Nov. 19, for violating state mask orders related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Stoltzfus said the alleged violations stemmed from two employees who were in the back of his business on a food break. He operates the stand with his wife Rachel and their daughters.
The second stand, Ruthie’s Soft Pretzels, was also closed the same day for mask violations.
Market stands are popular among Lancaster County Amish. Checking the market website, that is where these stand owners are from. Easton is located on the Delmarva peninsula, and can be reached in a drive of around two hours from Lancaster County.
The Amish Country Farmers Market in Easton, Maryland. Image: discovereaston.com
Eli Stoltzfus took a hit for the down time:
Stoltzfus said the closure cost his business significant sales revenue during the busy lead-up to Thanksgiving. “It’s thousands,” he told The Star Democrat.
The businesses went through an inspection by the Talbot County Health Department on Monday, Nov. 23.
Stoltzfus said the inspector was much more positive and conciliatory on Monday as compared to Thursday when his business was closed.
“Something changed,” he said.
This is not the first time he’s run into this problem:
Stoltzfus said his business was temporarily shut down once before for mask violations during the pandemic and on Saturday told The Star Democrat he felt targeted by the county.
He runs a food business that lost the full weekend prior to Thanksgiving – arguably the biggest “eating holiday” of the year – so that had to hurt financially.
Closure notice. Image: Mike Sunnucks/Star Democrat
Was Eli Stoltzfus targeted? That would probably be hard to prove. But could it be that inspectors are focusing disproportionately on Amish businesses? It may be so that Amish businesses are getting closer attention – perhaps at least in part due to negative publicity some Amish have generated/received during the COVID pandemic.