Coffee shop fined for violating Dane Co. mask order launches GoFundMe to challenge citation

Mask Free Zone sign at Helbach's Coffee

MIDDLETON, Wis. — Helbachs Coffee, the business cited for violating Dane County’s mandatory mask order, has started a GoFundMe to raise money for “legal expenses to challenge the citation Helbachs received and fight for our constitutional rights for freedom.”

On Tuesday, Public Health Madison & Dane County fined the coffee shop $263.50 for violating the county’s mask order. Of the nearly 400 non-compliance complaints PHMDC has received since the order was put in place, 180 of them have been in reference to Helbachs.

Last week, a customer posted a photo spread online showing a sign hanging in the cafe’s window declaring the building a “Mask Free Zone.” The sign asked customers to remove face masks upon entering.

According to the Helbachs Coffee Freedom Fund page, all funds donated will be used for legal expenses incurred while trying to challenge the citation. Any funds left over will be put aside for a legal defense fund intended to “fight for freedom and the unlawful orders from Madison & Dane County Public Health.”

During a Wednesday press conference, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said any businesses that willfully violate the orders will be educated on why the orders are in place. From there, businesses that don’t comply will face fines.

“What we’re seeing more and more of now is that if we want to move the economy forward, one of the most direct, easy and least invasive ways to do that is by mandatory mask orders,” Parisi said.

The GoFundMe has a goal of $50,000.