By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver business owner says employees have been spit on, coughed at, and yelled at for enforcing mask requirements. The owner of Little Man Ice Cream says those occurrences have been rare, but is hoping his employees can encounter more respect moving forward.

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“I was out there recently on the weekend when we had one of our big long lines all the way up the block, and in general people have masks they just don’t put them on. So it’s like, ‘Hey can you throw your mask on for me?’” said Will Oldenbrook. He occasionally stands at the enforcement table on the sidewalk in front of the very popular jug shaped ice cream shop in Denver’s LoHi neighborhood.

Oldenbrook says he’s encountered some limited hostility, but knows coworkers have faced much worse.

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“People were talking to our teenage team members using some profane language,” said Little Man Area Manager Dominic DiCarlantonio. “We really want to protect and take care of our team. I take it personally, I want to be there to protect them and definitely a lot of consoling, a lot of conversations. Our team has handled it fantastic.”

Little Man Owner Paul Tamburello said on Facebook, “We have had a team member spit upon. Another guest was angry and proceeded to cough all over our counter and toward other guests.”

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“The whole point is safety. Safety for us and every single other person out there,” said DiCarlantonio. “If we as a community in Denver and Colorado take it seriously, maybe we’ll be able to maintain this and not have to take any steps backwards. It’s about keeping each other safe, your neighbor, and allowing people to gather and enjoy the social life we all want as Coloradans.”

Jeff Todd