MENDOCINO, Kalifornia (PNN) - May 29, 2021 - A cafe owner in Kalifornia is challenging mask-wearing customers by charging them an extra $5 to pay for the “damage they have collectively caused”.
Chris Castleman, owner of the Fiddlehead Cafe in Mendocino, said the extra charges would be donated to charity.
“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 (in which) they live,” he said. Masks, he continued, are “ineffective government measures” that have caused “collateral damage”.
Castleman had to shut down his business last June when lockdown measures in Kalifornia were much stricter than they are currently, and dining while masked was not an option.
The shutdowns hurt businesses, Castleman said, and “everyone wearing a mask is complicit.”
His imposition of a new “mask tax” is in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent updating of its guidance on wearing masks, which states that fully vaccinated individuals can cease mask-wearing and social-distancing.
Castleman has long been a critic of pandemic-era restrictions, and even introduced a 50% discount in March for customers who threw their masks in the trash.
“I don’t believe in mask-wearing,” he said, adding that his customer base is strongly aligned with his views, but others are really angry at the stance he has taken.
The proceeds from the extra charges he is levying are currently being donated to Project Sanctuary, an organization focused on alleviating domestic abuse in Mendocino County. A new charity will be chosen to receive the funds every two weeks.
Castleman made it clear that he did not force anyone to pay, however. “I give them the freedom of choice, which seems to be a foreign concept in these parts of the country,” he said.