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Durango Colorado Yogurt shop faces penalties for offering discounts to non-mask wearing customers


Top That Frozen Yogurt in downtown Durango faces possible enforcement actions after allegedly offering a discount to customers who came into the store without wearing a face covering.

“This one is a little bit different than the usual complaint,” said Brian Devine with San Juan Basin Public Health.

Earlier this week, Top That allegedly posted to Facebook it would offer a 10% discount to anyone who came in and said “Happy Columbus Day,” an apparent pushback to the Indigenous Peoples Day movement.

The post went onto say: “And as always 10% off for no masks!! Merica!!”

In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, face coverings are required by state law in indoor spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Not long after, a flood of complaints came through SJBPH’s portal for reporting violations of public health orders. As of Thursday morning, 76 complaints had been filed against Top That, 58 of those since Monday.

Complaints also included numerous photos of staff members and customers not wearing masks inside the store.

Store owner Ryan Bartholomew did not respond to requests for comment. As of Thursday, it appeared Top That had taken down its entire Facebook page.

SJBPH consulted Thursday morning with a local enforcement group formed to meet about public health order violations. The group consists of public health organizations, local law enforcement and licensing municipalities.

An employee at Top That Frozen Yogurt in downtown Durango works behind the counter without a face covering, apparently in violation of state public health orders.

SJBPH has also requested assistance from the state Attorney General’s Office and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to discuss possible enforcement actions on the yogurt shop.

“This is more serious than violating PHO (public health orders) through ignorance or lack of managerial control,” San Juan Basin Public Health wrote in a statement to The Durango Herald. “And SJBPH is looking at all legal options available to stop Top That from willfully creating a risk to public health.”

Devine said the health department receives complaints about businesses not following public health orders on a daily basis, but in most cases, they are for minor offenses, like someone not wearing a face covering in a grocery store.

Those situations can usually be resolved by talking with store owners and coming up with ways to resolve the issue, and for the most part, businesses are trying to be compliant with public health orders, Devine said.

A sign at Top That Frozen Yogurt in downtown Durango says, “your mask is as worthless as Dean Brookie,” referring to the Durango mayor.

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