"Get out of this fucking store!"
This is one of the many memorable lines heard in a now-viral video captured by Ruby Musso at Molly's Spirits in Lakeside, one of two locations in the homegrown chain. In the clip, Molly's staffers and customers repeatedly beseech Musso to leave the liquor store because she refuses to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while she forcefully asserts what she describes as her legal right to leave her face uncovered and insists that Molly's management is in error by refusing to offer her service.
This last claim was dubious at 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, when Musso posted the video on her Facebook page, and it's even more so now. Yesterday, July 16, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide order directing everyone in the state age ten and above to wear masks in public settings; he'd previously emphasized that businesses were in their rights to refuse service to those without face coverings.
"I was harassed and assaulted, then thrown out of Molly's Spirits in Lakeside, Colorado for not wearing a mask," Musso wrote in her intro to the video about the business, located at 5809 West 44th Avenue; Westword named it Best Liquor Store for Price in our 2018 Best of Denver issue. "A customer ran her cart into me, workers and managers shoved me and put their hands in my face. Lakeside cops did nothing. I asked cops to get her, so I could press charges and they refused."
Several of these statements are contradicted by the video itself, which is accurately labeled as a "Pandemic Freakout" in a Reddit thread that has generated well over 5,000 comments.
The video begins with Musso saying, "'Kay, there you go, let's record now," as she focuses her phone camera on a mask-wearing patron. The woman pushes her cart very close to Musso and delivers the line at the top of this post. Musso responds, "Oh, really. Wow. Okay, that's harassment. I'm filing charges."
As the woman walks away, flipping off Musso as she goes, a Molly's employee appears. "Please leave," he says. "We're asking you to leave. The cops are 100 feet away. They'll be here soon."
"She almost physically threatened me," Musso protests.
At that point, another customer pipes up, noting, "You've been threatening everyone else by not wearing a mask."
"You can't deny me service," Musso insists — and when the employee accuses her of trespassing by not leaving the store as requested, she adds, "That's okay, because I'm going to show the cops the law. I'm just going to wait for the cops to get here."
"Why don't you wait for them outside?" the worker asks.
"I'm not," Musso emphasizes. "I'm going to wait here, where I almost got hit by a cart by a lady." To additional attempts to convince her to depart, she all but chants, "It's not a law, it's not a law, it's not a law."
Shortly thereafter, a Molly's manager shows up and orders her to split, but Musso remains defiant. "You're going to become under fire, son," she predicts. "Good luck. Good luck." She later informs him, "Don't touch me!," even though he says he didn't.
Amid this drama, the manager tells Musso, "Ma'am, it's like you're naked in my business. No shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service," while another employee reminds her about the public health order to wear a facial covering in stores.
"An order is not state law," insists Musso, who appeared in a photo of demonstrations against a vaccination bill that's now law published last month by the Denver Post. "You guys have no idea what legislature process is." Near the end of the video, she declares, "I did nothing! I did nothing! I did nothing but not wear a mask, and look at all these Nazis in Nazi America. Nazi America! Oh my God, I love it!"
Here's the video, as posted on YouTube — where, by the way, the setting is mislabeled as Florida.
Yesterday afternoon, Molly's Spirits responded to the video with the following statement, shared on Facebook:
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We understand that tensions are high in nearly every aspect of life right now, which is part of the reason we’ve been so pleased to provide consistency for our staff and customers by keeping our doors open. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have implemented many policies and procedures to keep our community safe, including regular deep cleanings, the launch of our curbside pickup offering, an expanded delivery service, capacity limits to encourage social distancing, and the installation of sneeze guards at each of our cashier stations. We also require our customers, staff and vendors to wear face coverings at all times in our stores. Molly’s provides masks for those who arrive without one and offers accommodations to those who cannot wear a mask with the option for curbside pickup, delivery or a personal shopper. As of 5 p.m. on July 14, all businesses in Jefferson County must require face coverings for entry, pursuant to an Emergency Public Health Order from the county. We will continue to enforce our policy that requires face coverings while inside our stores, just as we require shoes and a shirt for service, because we want to keep our community safe and because we want the economy to remain open as we find our new “normal."
In a Fox31 story timestamped at 11:13 p.m. on July 16, Molly's owner Rufus Nagel reveals that the store was subjected to nasty phone calls yesterday as a result of the video.
As for Musso, she informed the station that she has a medical condition that "causes her extreme panic and anxiety when she wears a mask." For this reason, she maintained, "I just really tried to stand my ground with that because I feel like it’s really important. There are so many reasons why someone is not wearing a mask."
Polis's order yesterday lessens that number by one.