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Cafe Bans Eczema Man From Inside

September 12, 2013

What are your thoughts on this, readers? It seems to me like unfair treatment because of a disability which can’t be helped. Surely the regulars know him and his situation. Anyone else should ask him or ask the owners or staff.

A Carnoustie cafe has told an eczema sufferer he has to sit outside because his constant scratching is putting customers off their food.

Finlay Munro said the owners of Franco’s told him not to come back because of a skin problem which makes him scratch himself without realising.

He has suffered from atopic eczema since he was two.

He said: “I’m not happy about it. This is just a skin condition I have — it’s not contagious.

“I handed over my loyalty card, but the woman didn’t sign it. She said she knew I had a disability. I said are you saying you don’t want me back?

“She said yes.”

Mr Munro added: “I can see it from the point of view of the customers. If you’re sitting next to somebody who’s involuntarily scratching, it’s quite worrying.

“But if they’d asked me I would have explained it to them.”

Mr Munro, 60, said he had been told by his doctor that “a disability goes with” his condition.

Janet Franco owns the cafe and said customers had been refusing to pay.

She said: “He’s been in the cafe quite a few times and it never really bothered us until we started to get complaints from the customers.

“He was scratching so much there were dead skin particles floating around the shop.

“We did actually feel sorry for him, but we couldn’t charge the customers for their meals.”

Ms Franco said she called the Citizens Advice Bureau for advice before she explained her view to Mr Munro.

She said: “We told him he could come and get takeaway, or come and sit outside and read his book and eat. But he couldn’t be in the cafe if he was going to be scratching like that.

“It has happened before, but this time we had eight complaints within an hour.

“He wasn’t asked not to come back, he was just told he can’t sit and do that in the cafe.”

Asked what Mr Munro would do in colder weather, Ms Franco said: “In that case our doors won’t be open and there won’t be a through wind, so he can sit at one of the corner tables.”

Mr Munro denied he had been offered the two options, and said his daughter had emailed Franco’s to “clarify these alternatives”.

Ms Franco said: “If he and his daughter want to speak to us we will explain the situation again.

“We lost in excess of £120 the other day and we’re only a small business — we can’t afford that kind of loss.”

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