Madison bakery condemns action of coffee shop that allegedly posted controversial mask-free zone sign

Mask Free Zone sign at Helbach's Coffee

MADISON, Wis. — In a statement, a Madison bakery condemned the alleged action of a Middleton coffee shop posting a sign advising patrons to remove masks, despite a county-wide mandate.

Madison Sourdough said in a post to its Facebook page that it cut ties with Helbachs Coffee House on Parmenter Street in Middleton months earlier and it doesn’t condone the sign that was reportedly put on the door at Helbachs on Monday.

“We believe in science, we believe in kindness, we believe in taking care of the folks in our community, and to that sentiment, we believe in wearing masks,” Madison Sourdough said. “Be kind, be smart and be safe.”

A Madison Sourdough representative told News 3 Now that Sourdough ended its partnership with Helbachs on March 16, before the coronavirus shutdown. But after a photo started circulating on social media Monday that appears to show a sign declaring Helbachs a “mask-free zone” on the same day a Dane County-wide mandate went in to effect requiring face coverings in all indoor spaces in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the bakery was getting a lot of people asking if they were still in business with Helbachs.


More than 100 complaints have been filed against Helbachs coffee shop for reportedly hanging a “mask-free zone” sign. The customer who posted it says his daughter was shamed for wearing one inside.

One of Helbachs’ owners denies the sign was ever posted.

“The photo shows the paper on the inside of the window and you can see their logo reflected on the paper,” Madison Sourdough said in a comment on its Facebook page. “If staff did it without ownerships (sic) knowledge or permission, they should address that issue.”