Helbachs cited for violating Dane County mask mandate

A Middleton cafe has been cited for violating Dane County’s public health order requiring people to wear masks inside all private and public buildings.

Helbachs Coffee Roasters + Kitchen received a $263.50 fine for violating the order. The owners have the choice to pay the citation or appear in court and request a hearing on the matter, according to Christy Vogt, the Health Education Coordinator for Public Health Madison and Dane County.

Public health officials have received 390 compliance complaints of businesses and organizations not following the public health order, which was put in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Dane County. Of the 390, 180 of those were in regards to Helbachs, Vogt said.

“This is life and death stuff. These orders are in place for a reason,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said on Tuesday during an interview with News 3 Now. “Helbachs was cited, and, if they continue to violate, they will continue to face sanctions, additional sanctions from Public Health,”

“Frankly, I don’t even like to say their names because I think they’re looking for attention, and sometimes it seems quite childish to me to be perfectly honest.”

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. The customer said his 6-year-old daughter was shamed for wearing one inside.

A small group of protesters gathered outside of the cafe over the weekend to voice its disdain for the company’s choice not to require masks. 

The owner of Helbachs denied the sign was posted last week. News 3 Now reached out for a comment regarding the citation on Tuesday, but has not heard back.