Roy’s All Steak Hamburgers on Washington Street in Auburn on Friday afternoon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Roy’s All Steak Hamburgers on Washington Street in Auburn is now in compliance with the state-mandated mask order after the business said previously it wouldn’t require employees or customers to wear them.

According to City Manager Phil Crowell, city staff worked with Jeff Roy, owner of the Washington Street location, and as of Friday morning “he has agreed to change his signage and have his staff be in compliance with the executive order.”

On Thursday, a sign posted at the restaurant stated, “Per Governor’s orders we have to post on our door that face masks in indoor public places is mandatory. However, we are not requiring our employees to wear face masks. We are also not requiring customers to wear face masks. If you prefer to wear a mask then you are more than welcome to.”

A photo of the sign was posted by a customer Thursday night on a Facebook page called “Maine: No Mask, No Service.” By Friday morning, it had been shared more than 100 times.

When reached by the Sun Journal Friday morning, Roy said the sign making the rounds on social media was “an old picture,” and that the sign is no longer there.

He said staff had taken the sign down Thursday following the governor’s executive order.

“It was just a bunch of BS,” he said. Roy declined to comment further.

Gov. Janet Mills’ executive order Wednesday requires businesses to enforce mandatory face coverings for customers in indoor public places, as well as outdoors if social distancing is not possible. A requirement for kitchen staff to wear masks was already in place.

During the lunch rush Friday at the Washington Street restaurant, all seven employees were wearing masks. Of the 15 people that came in for takeout, three were wearing masks. The business had two plexiglass shields between the cashiers and customers.

The social media attention Thursday impacted Roy’s brother, Jon Roy, who owns the Roy’s All Steak Hamburgers & Golf Center location at 2514 Turner Road, which features mini golf and a driving range.

Jon Roy responded to several personal messages on Facebook recently, attempting to clarify the differences between the two locations.

“We have required our employees to wear masks since we opened for the season in May,” he said.

Referring to his brother’s decision, he said, “I’m not sure why he’s taking this ignorant stance.”

A message left for Jon Roy was not immediately returned Friday.

Crowell said Friday that the city’s approach to the executive order is “to focus on education.” The city intends to use its recent Keep Maine Healthy grant to allocate “more resources for our businesses to assist them with these requirements.”

The city’s contact person for complaints is Code Enforcement Officer Cristy Bourget.

Crowell said the city does not intend to take any immediate enforcement on a complaint, but rather will follow up complaints by focusing on “education, discuss signage, staff protocols, and steps to take if someone is refusing to wear a mask, as well as providing the business owner with some de-escalation talking points” if a customer refuses to wear a mask.

“Our code enforcement officer will do her best to have the business come into compliance,” he said. “If after warnings and a clear disregard to the order, the complaint will be forwarded to the state of Maine for possible action.”

Staff Photographer Andree Kehn also contributed to this report.

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