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Bluffton shop owner claims she won’t back down in resistance of face mask mandate

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BLUFFTON, Ind. (WPTA21) - Stores across Indiana are dealing with a new statewide face covering mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19.

One Wells County floral and gift shop is at odds with local health officials because of a strong stance against the mask order.

The owner of Field of Grace Floral Boutique has drawn a line in the sand opposing the mask mandate and it has drawn the ire of the Wells County health department.

Owner Bobbi Shane posted on Facebook an offer of free snacks and drinks to customers coming into her store so they could remain maskless and not be in violation of governor Holcomb's order while shopping there.

A screenshot of the Facebook post.

That stance has generated praise from like-minded folks but there have been lots of angry comments, too. The health department has received numerous complaints prompting a visit to the shop today.

The boutique has been put on notice that if it doesn't stop the free food promotion as a way around the use of masks it could face penalties.

Shane says she's not technically violating the order, says she is not making COVID worse and thinks she's helping her customers.

"We try to make it the best most inviting place that we can and I don't feel like wearing a mask is getting that job done," Shop Owner Bobbi Shane said.

"Even though it's uncomfortable, even though we don't like it, I don't particularly care for it myself, but if it's going to put this country back up and running then that's what I want to do," Wells County Health Dept. Deputy Administrator Marlene Hoag said.

Shane insists she has no intention of wearing a mask or of backing down from her commitment to letting customers go without a mask in her store.

The CDC is adamant wearing a mask slows the spread of COVID-19. 

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Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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