A café in Mendocino, Calif. is charging patrons a $5 fee if they are caught wearing a mask or "bragging" about their coronavirus vaccine.
"$5 FEE ADDED TO ORDERS PLACED WHILE WEARING A FACE MASK," a sign posted in the window of Fiddleheads Café reads. In the fine print below the sign says that any customer "caught bragging" will also have to pay the penalty.
Fiddleheads’ owner, Chris Castleman told Fox News the proceeds from the fee are going to "charities that have been overwhelmed by collateral damage of the government lockdowns," that deal with domestic abuse, suicide and poverty.
"I’ve been asked this entire time to put on a mask and that that's not a large request, all I'm asking is a $5 donation to charity and I don’t think that's too much," he said.
Castleman said some people are "more than willing" to pay the fee once they learn it’s going to charity, and about 100 have done so. "Some people are really upset by it. You can see outside they were about to come in and they see the sign and they turn away," he added.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said that vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask in most indoor settings, but Fiddleheads is defying California’s state mask mandate. "They’ve been on us for the past year," Castleman said of the local government. Last June, Castleman closed up shop rather than require his employees to wear a mask, after he was hit with a $10,000 fine. But recently, he said he’s mostly just been sent notices, and "found a way to come into compliance."
Only California and Hawaii still require residents to wear masks in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.
Castleman hasn't been shy about his feelings towards mask mandates. A sign that read, "THROW YOUR MASK IN THE TRASH BIN AND RECEIVE 50% OFF YOUR ORDER," hung in the window for about two months.
Another sign read "GET YOUR COVID-19 VACCINE CARD HERE!" That sign, meant to be facetious, was taken down after some customers took it literally and asked the café to forge them a card.
Another sign that has been up since last summer reads, "People might not be wearing masks. Please respect their freedom to breathe. People may be within 6ft of one another. Please respect their freedom to socialize."
"People might not be vaccinated. Please respect their freedom to live naturally," the sign continues. "People may not share your opinions or feelings. Please respect their freedom to think independently."
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