MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA) — When a couple walked into Frapys Yogurt Saturday threatening to sue for discrimination after being told to put on a face covering, Mariana Tabula didn’t know what to say.
“They didn’t give me any opportunity to offer extra face masks,” she said. “They just jump at me to say, ‘You broke the law.'”
When the couple threatened to sue her personally for violating the Constitution, the yogurt shop co-owner began recording — for her own protection.
Tabla said other nearby business owners told her that the couple had threatened to sue them as well for requiring masks as mandated by local public health orders. She shared the video with a friend who posted it on social media.
Tabla said she has struggled to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic and was disheartened when the couple returned Wednesday demanding she sign papers that state it is unlawful to require customers to wear face coverings.
“We lost almost 80% of the customers, because the people is afraid, the people is scared and we are too,” she said. “I’m just trying to keep my business open and safe.”
On Thursday night, customers from throughout the Southland came out to support Tabla and her yogurt shop.
“They were being so unkind, and there’s a pandemic,” Jill Hamilton, a customer, said. “We drove from Long Beach because it just was so disheartening.”
“They were so rude and so mean,” Tammy Williamson, another customer, said. “I just felt like it was our duty as fellow Mission Viejo people to come here in here and support this business.”
“It like when you used to be when you saw the ‘no shirts, no shoes, no service,’ type of thing, it’s the same thing with the masks now,” Darel Williamson, a customer, said.
Tabla said she was overwhelmed by the response, saying that her business has tripled in the past two days.