SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A popular Rhode Island ice cream shop has decided to close one of its locations for the summer after they say customers continued to be disrespectful over changes made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brickley’s Ice Cream posted on Facebook Tuesday morning that its Wakefield location will be closed immediately after another incident occurred where customers were rude to the staff. The majority of the employees are teenagers.
The shop says two men who were angry they could not stay and eat their ice cream on the patio argued with, swore at, and verbally abused the employees. When another customer spoke up and tried to help, one of the men became threatening and almost started a fight.
The patio at the ice cream shop has been used only for those waiting for their orders to adhere to social distancing regulations. The shop says if customers stay and eat on the patio, there will be an unsafe situation with too many people in one area without masks while others are waiting.
“Along with our staff, we have been discussing our options and have made the very difficult decision to close our Wakefield location for the season – immediately,” the shop wrote on Facebook. “We will move some staff to our Narragansett store. We have more staff in Narragansett, more room for customers to enjoy their ice cream as well as more senior staff that can help mitigate problems that may arise.”
Sarah Bard says she was at Brickley’s on Sunday when this incident occurred.
“When they were asked to please move away from the patio area that’s when they became rude and disrespectful,” Bard said. “People were there with families and kids just getting ice cream and nobody expected to have to deal with that.”
The ice cream shop first considered closing last month after a small percentage of patrons refused to wear masks and were verbally abusive toward the staff at both locations.
“We so appreciate all of our local and dedicated Wakefield customers. We are so sorry to have to make this painful decision and look forward to serving you all again in Wakefield during the spring of 2021,” the post continued. “In the meantime, we hope you will come visit us in Narragansett.”
The Narragansett location is open Wednesday through Sunday.
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