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Clash over mask wearing at Lark Toys

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KELLOGG, Minn. (FOX 47) - A confrontation over masks at a well known family-owned toy shop raised tension at a place known for family fun and imagination.

Lark Toys has had a mask rule at its store since reopening following Minnesota's initial business lock down.

Late afternoon on Wednesday, July 29, a family of customers entered without masks, saying they were medically exempt.

“We've dealt with a lot of people that hate masks. We hate masks. Who doesn't?" said Lark Toys co-owner Miranda Gray-Burlingame. "We've accommodated several people who have talked to us about their need to be in the store without a mask, and sometimes we've made the decision to allow them in. This felt so different and really intrusive and not okay. ”

According to Gray-Burlingame, a man in the family began threatening her parents who are also Lark Toys co-owners. She says the man also recorded them with his phone.

The man claimed that he could get the toy store shut down, then began recording and demanding everyone's names. That's when the man and his family were told to leave.

Gray-Burlingame then took photos of the couple and their vehicle in order to report the incident to police. The couple raised their middle fingers in response, and the photo was posted to the Lark Toys Facebook page.

That photo, accompanied by a description of what happened, has generated thousands of online responses.

The Wabasha County Sheriff's Office said it could not independently identify the people in the photo, but stated that a business has the right to refuse service, even if someone has a medical exemption to wearing masks.

"We've decided we don't care for the couple to come back," Gray-Burlingame said.

Efforts to contact the people in the photo have been unsuccessful.

Kilat Fitzgerald

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