The Grille at Flower Hill in Gaithersburg has been receiving attention – not the good kind – on social media after a now-deleted Facebook post from a manager or owner saying that employees will not wear face masks.
“Let me be very clear… my staff will not wear face masks while working here at the Grille,” the post said.
“If that bothers you then please dine elsewhere and please try to find something more important to occupy your time such as volunteer at a nursing home or soup kitchen. Whoever you are that filed the complaint, you need to take a good look in the mirror and try to find some real meaning in your life.”
In a statement emailed to MyMCMedia, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles acknowledged complaints received about The Grille. Gayles said a complaint was received Monday, June 29, and a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) environmental health inspector visited the restaurant three days later on Thursday, July 2. The inspector gave a “verbal reminder” about public health requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Complaints about employees not wearing masks were again received on Monday, July 6. According to the statement and The Grille’s Facebook page, the restaurant’s normal operating days are Thursday-Sunday, so it will be visited by the DHHS again on Thursday, July 9 when it reopens.
“As we receive complaints about businesses like the Grille at Flower Hill for not following the requirements for the wearing of face masks and keeping customers physically distanced, we will fully investigate each complaint. If we find that a business has been educated and continues to willfully ignore the requirements to safely reopen, we will use our legal authority to prohibit their operations until they comply,” Dr. Gayles said in his statement.
In a Facebook post Sunday, The Grille said that it was closed that day and asked for residents to direct complaints about limited hours to County Executive Marc Elrich and Gov. Larry Hogan.
“The Grille will be closed Sunday July 5th. We will re-open Thursday July 9th at 4pm hopefully. Please direct any and all complaints regarding our limited hours of service to Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and Gov Larry Hogan,” the post said.
DHHS Spokesperson Mary Anderson said that the DHHS did not close down the restaurant.
Although the original post about mask-wearing has been deleted, people have been leaving mostly disapproving comments on other recent posts from The Grille.
“Hopefully not reopening ever! Since you’re explicitly putting your customers and staff in danger by refusing to wear masks. Horrible mindset in this challenging time,” says one comment under The Grille’s most recent Facebook post.
“How much are you charging for the side of COVID-19?” says another comment under a post about menu options.