One day after reopening, ice cream parlor closes to public after employees harassed by customers

MASHPEE, Mass. — One Cape Cod ice cream shop’s opening day will now be its last day open to the public, at least for now, after the owner claimed his employees were disrespected by angry customers.

Mark Lawrence, owner of Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour in Mashpee, told Boston 25 News that he wanted to open his shop quietly on Friday to kick off Mother’s Day Weekend.

He added that he has been able to open his shop under restaurant guidelines, but that he wanted to wait until he felt it was safe to do so. Unfortunately, Friday was anything but business as usual.

“One of my best workers quit yesterday at the end of her shift, she stuck it through her shift,” he explained. “But the words she was called and the language, you wouldn’t even say in a men’s locker room. And to say it to a 17-year-old kid, they should be ashamed of themselves.”

According to Lawrence, it was posted online that all orders had to be placed one hour in advance.

Still, he claimed, customers didn’t listen and instead took their anger out on his employees when the parlor got busy and staff could not fill orders right away.

“All of the sudden word spread like wildfire and nobody listened to what we told them how the protocol we had set up,” he said Saturday. “People have forgotten how to treat other human beings in the six or seven weeks that they’ve been confined to their homes. They have no clue how to respect other human beings.”

Lawrence announced on his Facebook page that he would no longer be open to the public and would work to explore new options.

On Saturday, he said he was serving a limited number of customers for the day, many of whom did not get their ice cream on Friday, until he could figure out a new plan to reopen to everyone.

“It’s a completely different world that we’re living in, and people are going to have to adjust and learn that we don’t know,” he said. “We’re trying.”

Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour is just one example of a small business that has owners now trying to figure out how to reopen from a pandemic shutdown. Other businesses have also reported having to deal with customers who are not always choosing to follow new safety guidelines.

Lawrence told Boston 25 News that he is friends with other ice cream shop owners around the world who have also been forced to close down after their opening day.

He said he hopes people will be more patient and treat each other with kindness.

“We’re not claiming that we know what we’re doing. We don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re giving it a shot,” he said.

To follow updates about the ice cream parlor’s reopening schedule, you can go to their Facebook page or click here to visit their website. Lawrence also started a GoFundMe for those who want to help support the worker’s college fund.

Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts

>> Complete local and national coronavirus coverage here


- Massachusetts Coronavirus Information

- Boston Coronavirus Information

- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter | Watch Boston 25 NOW

- Download our free apps for your phone and smart TV