Ellsworth small business owner seeing backlash because of face coverings

ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - For the past 9 years, Karen and her husband have owned an antique and collectibles store on Main Street in Ellsworth.

Called Dream Catcher, Karen now runs the business alone since her husband has recently passed.

She has now been open for 2 weeks since closing because of the pandemic and says it has been difficult.

"Last week we brought in 32 dollars all week. My light bill is about 60 a day. We depend on the income now to get through the winter is not going to be happening this year."

Karen has not been allowing people in the store if they are not wearing a face mask.

Because of this, she has lost many customers who don't agree.

"People argue that I am trying to take away their freedom by making them wear a mask. On Facebook, I have gotten several messages that they will never shop here again because I requested them to wear a face mask. Had a lady the other day with a daughter about 8 to 10 years old who got mad and said it was terrible that I was going to put her daughter through trying to put on a face mask and I said well she doesn't have to wear a mask but she can't come in without one."

Governor Mills just recently added in the latest executive order that businesses are allowed to deny entry or service to those who choose not to wear a face covering.

"It's your right to not wear a mask. It's my right to not allow you into my business. I have several elderly vendors. I have one that just had a lung transplant, one who just got through her second round of chemotherapy. It's not about you, it's about them."

Karen says she plans on putting her building up for sale because without tourists she doesn't know how she will pay her bills.

"Tourists are 95% of our income. I put safety before money."