LARK Toys says couple ranted at staff over face mask requirement

The couple tried to claim a medical exemption at the famous Wabasha toy store.
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Famous Kellogg, Minnesota, landmark LARK Toys said its staff were subjected to a tirade of abuse by a family who objected to its face mask requirement.

The famous toy store says a couple with two children entered the building, none of them wearing masks, and when staff questioned they said: "When we inquired about masks, they announced that their entire family is medically exempt and we can't make them wear one."

As staff considered what to do, the father became "highly aggressive and threatening." They were asked to leave, with the mother and father flipping off staff as they drove off.

When asked for further information about the father's actions by a Facebook commenter, the store responded: "As we were calmly discussing how to handle this situation, the dad entered the scene and started immediately this vitriolic diatribe about how he would gladly shut us down if we were going to consider not letting them in.

"He got up in our faces with his camera, demanding our names and loudly berating us. He threatened to have us shut down many, many times, and then we had had ENOUGH! I asked him to leave several times (because of his horrible behavior), and he refused," the store said.

"The wife pulled her husband out the door, promising to report us and take us down, and it occurred to us that his belligerent behavior had caused quite a scene and we were a bit stunned and a bit afraid. We figured, if he plans to call and report us to authorities, we wanted to have on record his awful behavior."

Store's mask policy put in place in mid-May

The store has had a face mask requirement in place since it reopened in mid-May, well before the statewide mandate went into effect on July. 24.

The response has been mostly positive especially in recent weeks, with staff having "persevered" through some initial customers complaints, with the store revealing in a Facebook post that one woman "told us she'd never shop at our store again."

The store does have a policy of letting people go without masks if they have a medical exemption, but said that since the governor's mandate went into effect, they have noticed posts from the "anti-mask" community on social media that state "all you have to do is walk in to a store, announce that you have a medical exemption, and you don't need to follow the Governor's mask mandate."

"We have had a few individuals tell us of their need and we accommodated them. We've had a few parents tell us about their child with special needs who can't tolerate a mask, and we accommodated," the store said.

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"Today, though, a woman, a man, and two children came in. When we inquired about masks, they announced that their entire family is medically exempt and we can't make them wear one."

"We might have given them the benefit of the doubt, but their hostility and aggressive behavior crossed a line," the store added.

"We photographed their license number and reported them to both local law enforcement and to the state. We are determined to be a place of peace, safety, and delight."

It's asking customers who don't wish to mask and don't have a (genuine) medical reason not to wear one to stay away from its store, and instead make their purchases at larktoys.com, with the store offering curbside pickup.

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