A cafe owner in Northern California says he’s charging a small fee to customers who wear masks and will give a discount to customers who throw their masks in the trash.
Chris Castleman, owner of Fiddleheads Cafe in Mendocino, posted a sign last Sunday announcing the $5 fee for all those who decide to wear a mask while placing their order.
“I don’t think $5 to charity is too much to ask from mask-wearing customers who claim to care so much about the community they live in,” he told NBC News.
Just below the notice is another message in smaller print that says the cafe will add another $5 fee if they catch customers bragging about their COVID-19 vaccine. Proceeds from both fees will go to Project Sanctuary, an organization that assists victims of domestic abuse, and then to a different charity next week.
Castleman also stated that the fees are not compulsory, keeping in line with his thoughts on the role of free choice in American life, even during a pandemic.
“I don’t force anyone to pay,” he said. “I give them the freedom of choice, which seems to be a foreign concept in these parts of the country.”
“The government shut everything down. Everyone wearing a mask is complicit.”
As for the discount, customers who toss their masks in the trash will receive 50 percent off their order. Castleman states that it rewards his most loyal customers.
“I don’t believe in mask-wearing,” he said. “Our customer base has been strongly aligned with our beliefs, but I think some are really angry at our cafe.”
“It’s their choice. They can choose what business they support. They can go to any other business in my county, state,” he added.
It’s only fair that COVIDians who still insist on wearing masks face a little bit of social pressure. After all, many of us who didn’t want to wear them faced enormous social pressure and sometimes outright COVIDian nastiness for almost a year.