Cary James, the owner of Stahl’s Bakery, removed the controversial sign on her bakery window, which warned of "patriotic disobedience" of the laws and orders implemented because of the coronavirus pandemic after people complained about it online.
James stated that she wasn’t aware of the complaints until they were shown to her by 5 On Your Side Investigators on Tuesday afternoon.
"Not one word," she said, "not one person talked to us. Not one person called or complained or anything that I can see."
The sign in question read, "The second lockdown isn't happening," and warned that "when you gave a pass to rioters and looters, you gave up your right to boss around citizens." It continued, "no more masks, no more frantic warnings about viruses," and "no more stay at home or closed businesses," before concluding, "we have no intentions of respecting any new little laws or civil orders."
James stated that she had seen the poster online, and had printed it and stuck it on the bakery’s window. She said that the line regarding "rioters and looters" was what drew her to the sign.
"If we're allowing looters and rioters to run rampant, and not going to say that's wrong and not allowing small businesses to open, I do have a problem with that," she said. "Small businesses are what our economy is based on and you turn small businesses into criminals by not allowing them to open."
By Tuesday afternoon, comments criticizing the sign were piling up on the bakery’s Facebook page.
When shown the comments, James covered the sign with another one that read: "America, land of the free because of the brave."
The controversy came a day before Kent’s city council was expected to vote on the ordinance requiring masks to be worn in public.
Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala stated that he had received "overwhelming support" for the proposal.
"We're taking the steps to do this because we're concerned about the health and safety of our city and concerned about our businesses staying in business," Fiala said. "Because if these businesses start shutting down for the second time, I don't think many of them are going to be able to survive."
James maintained that her sign struck a nerve because people were “panicking” over the pandemic.
She stated that she was going to let her customers decide whether they were going to need face masks while in the bakery.
"I'm not forcing anybody in," she said. "If someone's not uncomfortable with that, there are other places or we can work something out."
Sources: America Now