Owner of Mullins store explains ‘no-mask’ rule: ‘It’s actually increased business’

Pee Dee

MULLINS, S.C. (WBTW) — A luxury home decor store in Mullins is getting some attention for its unusual mask policy for customers.

The Barn, on Main Street, has customers take off their masks upon entry.

They’re asked to place the masks in a bag, sanitize their hands and are instead offered a face shield.

Co-owner Victoria Hampton says the policy is because she says many people handle masks improperly, among some other reasons.

“The reason my store in particular, I don’t like the masks is because several people are getting their masks out of their purse,” she said. “Out of their pockets. Off the floor of their cars. Off the dashboard.”

“They’re picking them up even as far as off the ground,” Hampton continued. “To put a mask on to enter the store. This is very unsanitary and it’s not sterile.”

Hampton also says she’s noticed that people who are wearing masks tend to touch their faces more often.

“They’re handling merchandise in stores, and I just think it’s a very unsanitary way and could be the cause of spread of any bacteria or disease.”

Hampton cited guidelines from the CDC on the proper handling of masks. The agency does say that if you touch a mask, you should wash or sanitize your hands.

The CDC- along with countless members of the medical community- also says that masks can help slow the spread of COVID. Health officials have urged the public to wear them. In South Carolina, DHEC reports show mask ordinances have helped to slow the spread of COVID.

Mullins previously had a mask mandate in place for businesses, but that’s since expired. It now has a recommendation they be worn in businesses.

Mullins mayor Robert Woodbury says The Barn is not breaking any rules to his knowledge.

“There are some that are not happy about how they choose to do their business but at the end of the day, it is their choice of how they want to run their business as long as it’s nothing illegal or unethical,” he said.

Mayor Woodbury added that the new recommendation is able to give businesses flexibility and support with whatever their mask policy is.

“I think at this point it’s what you’re comfortable with as a business owner,” the mayor said. “I’m seeing more of business in our town encouraging masks and I really haven’t seen any requiring. And those that are requiring they’re really not enforcing the requirement.”

Barringer’s Jewelers, just across the street from The Barn, strongly encourages them among customers.

“We do appreciate it if our customers do wear masks,” Drew Foil said. “If they don’t wear masks then we try to exercise extra social distancing.”

Hampton said their policy has helped business. Some online reviews have criticized the ‘no-mask’ rule, and Hampton said some people have gotten outraged.

“The more negativity we have the busier we’ve been getting,” she said.

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