New Hampshire

NH Music Store Closes Abruptly; Ex-Staff Say They Were Fired After Mask Dispute

Former employees say Bull Moose in Salem closed amid disagreements over the music store's mask policy, but the store said on Facebook it "had absolutely nothing to do with masks or face coverings"

NBC Universal, Inc.

A music store in Salem, New Hampshire, abruptly shut its doors and fired all of its employees Thursday, according to two former workers.

Kameron Brooksmoore and Callie Gonsalves said they lost their jobs at Bull Moose, a media retail chain based in Portland, Maine, shorty after a disagreement with management over the store's mask policy.

The workers said they were informed via email on Friday that their employment had been terminated, effective immediately. The store planned to lift its mask mandate Monday, according to Brooksmoore and Gonsalves.

“We weren’t super comfortable because not all of us were vaccinated yet,” Brooksmoore said.

The mask mandate in New Hampshire ends at midnight Saturday morning, but many places will still require face coverings.

Bull Moose wrote in a statement on their Facebook page that the closure is temporary and "had absolutely nothing to do with masks or face coverings for employees or customers." Management did not give a reason for the closure of its Salem location, one of 11 in New Hampshire and Maine.

"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," the statement said.

The store didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brooksmoore and Gonsalves said they were considering various ways to publicly call attention to the mask issue shortly before the store closed.

“We started talking about maybe organizing a walkout,” Gonsalves said.

The CDC’s abrupt announcement that mask mandates could be lifted for fully vaccinated people caught many by surprise and has been criticized for creating unnecessary confusion. Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBCLX that he agreed the mask messaging was “suboptimal,” but also explained why it was still the right move.

On what would become his last day of work at Bull Moose, Brooksmoore said that management "locked the door behind us and put up a sign that said, 'Closed indefinitely.'"

A sign seen on the door reads, "This location is closed until further notice." Bull Moose wrote in their statement that the store would reopen "as soon as we can, with as many people as we can."

Masks were always a contentious issue at the store, according to Brooksmoore, especially with customers.

“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.

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