‘It hurt,” says ice cream shop owner after complaint made to RIDOH about staff not wearing masks

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WLNE) – The owner of a North Kingstown ice cream shop is upset after receiving a call from the Rhode Island Department of Health this week about a complaint from someone that staff members were not wearing masks and customers were not social distancing.

“(RIDOH) had said that they had a complaint that someone was driving by and my staff didn’t have masks on and there was no social distancing. I explained to them that my staff does have masks on and there is social distancing, and how can somebody see through the windows from the street?”

John Bucci has run The Inside Scoop on Ten Rod Road for over 20 years. He was confused and hurt to hear that someone that drove past had made a call to the state after he spent so much time making his business safe for both staff and patrons.

“I take things very personally and it hurt, and I would like to know who that person was that made the complaint and what their basis was. But, there’s nothing I can do about it. (I can) only do the right thing and that’s what we’re doing,” said Bucci.

At The Inside Scoop, there are about a dozen signs urging customers to put on a mask before approaching an ice cream window, and the windows are spaced six feet apart. Bucci said his staff knows to always wear a mask and call out if they’re feeling under the weather.

He has even hired two additional staff members so the person handling cash isn’t also scooping ice cream.

“Unfortunately the Rhode Island Department of Health has to investigate every phone call, and I can understand there are some businesses it’s easier for them to comply than others. I’m lucky enough where I was able to pivot and serve from the windows.”

Bucci posted to the business’s Facebook page and received an outpouring of support from his loyal customers.

So I received a call from the RI Department of Health this morning. The complaint said "Someone was driving by the store…

Posted by The Inside Scoop on Monday, July 27, 2020

“It hurts because, I mean, I’m a local business, I have the support of the whole community on my Facebook post. There had to be at least 150 comments all basically in favor of the store and how we’re set up.”

During the phone call with the state, Bucci said he explained how they’re operating and the person on the other line accepted that he’s doing the right thing. While he’s not afraid of an inspection from RIDOH or the Department of Business Regulation, Bucci is shaken up that someone could easily jeopardize his livelihood.

“It could be somebody that’s jealous, it could be somebody that wants revenge, who knows what people’s motives are. Maybe somebody was just miserable that day. We’re just doing the right thing. If the Department of Health wants to visit us, they’ll be impressed.”

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island