Lincoln restaurant servers see backlash over city-wide mask mandate

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 5:56 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It’s been a tough few months for those in the service industry. Attendance at restaurants is down and those who rely on tips are struggling.

“To have your income impacted so immensely for something out of your control is so hard,” Sheena Ammon, a server at a restaurant in Lincoln said.

But on top of there being fewer customers, therefore less tip money, now some customers are taking their frustration over the mask mandate out on their servers.

A photo of a receipt from Big Red East, in Lincoln, was circulating around Facebook over the weekend. The customer tipped five cents and wrote “get rid of masks, tips will be bigger,” on the receipt.

"When you go into restaurants and lash out at servers and write mean notes or leave mean tips to undermine them," Ammon said. "You are affecting someone's livelihood, you may be making a political statement, but we're just doing what we're told."

Ammon hasn’t received a tip like that at her job, but said she’s had customers upset over the mask mandate too. She said she wishes customers would remember it’s not their servers decision to require masks.

"It's above my pay grade," Ammon said.

And tipping, or not tipping won’t impact the Directed Health Measure but it will impact your server’s life.

"We're not asking for giant tips," Ammon said. "We're asking for people to be respectful and know we're doing the best we can."

Neither the server who received the tip nor Big Red commented on the story.

Rex Shroeder, the man who said he left the tip, called 10/11. He said he left $10 cash along with the receipt.

Shroeder also said he never meant for the tip to reflect poorly on the server. He said he meant it to be a “dig at the establishment” as he’s not a fan of the mask mandate in Lincoln.

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