Music store abruptly fires everyone after workers threaten walkout over ending mask rules

A New Hampshire music store abruptly closed its doors following a dispute over the end of the company's mask requirement.

The Maine-based music retailer Bull Moose closed its store in Salem on Friday after employees talked about staging a walkout to protest the decision to allow customers to go without masks, reported WBTS-TV.

"We weren't super comfortable because not all of us were vaccinated yet," former employee Kameron Brooksmoore told the station.

The store's owners insist the closure had "absolutely nothing" to do with masks and would not confirm the workers were fired, but a statement referred to them as "former employees."

"We are sad to announce that we have temporarily closed our Salem store," Bull Moose CFO Chris Brown said in the statement. "We are not able to share the reasons behind our decisions regarding the Salem store as it is important to us to protect the confidentiality of our former employees. We can, however, say we are confident this decision was in the best interest of our customers, employees and business as a whole. We can also say emphatically this decision had absolutely nothing to do with masks or face coverings for employees or customers."

Workers and store owners have been clashing over pandemic precautions for months, according to the Portland Press Herald, but the last straw came when employees learned Thursday that Bull Moore was dropping its mask mandate for vaccinated customers but wouldn't allow them to ask for proof.

"We have had people fighting us on the mask policy since the beginning, and those people who have been fighting us since the beginning probably haven't been vaccinated and would probably lie about being vaccinated and come in and spread COVID to us and other customers," said William Boisvert, who lost his job at the Salem store.

Employees at several Bull Moore stores quit over what they saw as a lack of support from management about COVID-19 safety, and workers said customers often became irate when asked to comply with the few rules put in place.

"One time last April, a customer, who didn't want to put on a mask after I told him to, pulled out a gun and threatened us," Brooksmoore said.

Bull Moose operates stores in 11 locations throughout New England.