Wendell shop owner cited over sign saying store doesn’t require masks


WENDELL, N.C. (WNCN) – A Wendell shop owner was cited for not requiring masks in her store, the police department said.

Wendell police said they received a complaint about a sign at the Wendell General Store. It said “We do not require masks,” conflicting with Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police initiated an investigation, which led to Regina Suzanne Harmon being cited for aiding and abetting the violation of an executive order. The sign has since been taken down and Harmon has hired an attorney.

“Every business has their own policy. We took the stance to be safe,” Melody Narla, the owner of several businesses just down the street.

Narla and her husband invited CBS 17 into their stores, showing us the precautions, they have in place. That includes an air filtration system.

“It’s constantly just filtering the air, cleaning it, pushing it back out,” Narla explained.

They wanted people to know that most shops in downtown Wendell take the mask mandate seriously.

“It’s not about us, it’s about the people we’re around and you don’t know where people have been,” Bailey Watkins, a barista said.

Watkins said the coffee shop where she works, 41 North, is enforcing the rules.

“We are having employees take all the precautions, washing hands for 20 seconds or more, wearing masks. We also have this plexiglass here,” Watkins said.

“A mask is a small thing to ask for of people,” Morgan Collins, a shopper said.

CBS 17 caught up with Collins have she picked up takeout on Main Street. She said she’d have concerns about going into a store where masks weren’t required.

“Probably make me more uncomfortable,” Collins said.

Harmon’s case will be held in Wake County District Court.

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