Florida Store Owner Says She's Received Rape Threats For Asking Customers to Wear Masks

A Florida small business owner says she has received rape threats and dealt with people getting violent and abusive over her store's mask policy.

Holly Donohoe has placed large signs outside the Vintage Arts Decor Studio in Jacksonville, telling customers that face masks are required inside the boutique.

Donohoe, who has a compromised immune system, told First Coast News that she has been dealing on a regular basis with people cursing at her or worse after she asked them to wear a mask inside the store.

Customers have made threats, spat on her and set fires outside her business because of the mask policy, according to the station. Last month, one customer set a notebook on fire and threw it against her door and also set her dumpster on fire, Donohoe said.

The owner of Vintage Arts Decor Studio in #Jacksonville, FL said the male customer who threatened her today set this notebook on fire and threw it against her door & set the dumpster on fire in August. I'll have exclusive video of that man tonight at 11 on @FCN2go. pic.twitter.com/XelCq158iR

— Dawn White (@DawnWhiteNews) September 6, 2020

She said the harassment started after she told the man that he needed to wear a mask inside the store. Donohoe said the man has been terrorizing her business since then.

She said the man returned to the store on Sunday and threatened to rape Donohoe and another female employee, prompting her to call 911.

But Donohoe told First Coast News that it took more than 90 minutes for officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to arrive.

One of the signs posted at the entrance to the business informs customers that "someone in this store has a weak immune system," meaning they would be at greater risk if they caught the coronavirus.

Donohoe says that hasn't stopped numerous customers from refusing to wear masks by claiming to "have every medical condition under the sun."

"They've told me they don't want to be told what to do. They've told me they don't want to shop here," she added. "They don't ever want to shop here again, that I'm the Wicked Witch of the West—and that's the PG stuff."

Donohoe and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office have been contacted for comment.

Florida is one of the hardest-hit states by coronavirus, with almost 650,000 confirmed infections and almost 12,000 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Florida Department of Health.

Duval County, where Jacksonville is located, has more than 27,000 positive cases and 271 deaths.

Some cities in the state have made wearing masks in public places mandatory to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, but Jacksonville—the state's most populous city—only suggests mask use.

Masks
Close-up of a cardboard box filled with packaged blue surgical masks imported from China during an outbreak of the coronavirus in San Ramon, California, April 5, 2020. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images