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Anti-mask Helbachs Coffee loses its Middleton lease, set to close at end of August
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Anti-mask Helbachs Coffee loses its Middleton lease, set to close at end of August

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Helbachs

Helbachs Coffee Roasters and Kitchen in Middleton is closing on Aug. 31 after its lease was not renewed. The shop had been cited for violating the county's public health order, including not complying with the requirement to wear face coverings indoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helbachs Coffee Roasters and Kitchen has lost its lease in Middleton and will be closing on Aug. 31, the shop announced in an Instagram post Thursday.

The closure comes on the heels of “enforcement action, negative public statements and continued vindictive and hostile behavior” toward the shop from Public Health Madison and Dane County, the post said.

Public Health Madison and Dane County issued the coffee shop three citations for violating the county’s public health order, including not complying with the requirement to wear face coverings indoors. The shop sued city, county and local officials earlier this month over the requirement after calling itself a “mask-free zone.”

Before filing the lawsuit, Helbachs was also at risk of losing its food and drink license.

The actions taken by public health authorities led the shop’s landlord to not renew the Middleton lease, according to the social media post. Helbachs first location on the West Side at 410 D’Onofrio Drive closed in June. The Middleton location opened in March 2019.

A GoFundMe called “Helbachs Coffee Freedom Fund” was created in July to help with legal fees. As of Thursday, it had raised over $14,000.

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