Popular Lake County Christmas tree farm business harassed over mask policy
EUSTIS, Fla. - Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest is back in business just in time for one of the busiest parts of their year: pumpkin season. But the family spot in Eustis hasn’t been all holiday cheer.
“It really has been quite heartbreaking,” said owner Jodi Utsman.“It’s really upsetting,” her husband, Tom Utsman said.
The Utsmans are getting such pushback on their mask requirement, they posted on Facebook about it.
“Basically, we don’t want to hide our policy. We are not trying to hide our policy and we want everybody to know we are serious about our policy,” Jodi explained.
The couple says their employees have been wearing masks on the farm since March. So when they decided to reopen a few weeks ago, they wanted customers to do so as well.
“When the guest buys their tickets online, they tick a box that says they’re going to mask when they come and we were all quite comfortable with that,” Jodi said.
There are also signs posted at the entrance and throughout the farm. But despite the clear rules, the couple says people have been breaking them.
“We never thought we would have a problem with people coming in and defying us on purpose,” Tom told FOX 35 News.
“We have a very young staff and sometimes they have to ask grown people over and over again to put their mask on,” Jodi said.
The Utsmans say they’ve had families leave and been trashed in reviews but they’re sticking to their mask policy loud and clear.
“We are not asking anyone to change their beliefs on masking. We are just asking you to stay home if you are going to come on your property and not wear a mask,” Jodi said.