Most people are free to speak their minds at coffee shops in Northern California. But doing so through the mask’s protective scope will cost $5.
Fiddlehead’s Cafe in Mendocino on Sunday posted a fee placard for customers who wear masks while ordering. in March The coffee shop has announced an ongoing 50 percent discount for those who throw face masks in the trash, 34-year-old owner Chris Castleman said.
“I don’t think $5 for charity is too much to ask from masked customers who claim to care so much for the community they live in,” he said by email.
Proceeds will go to Project Sanctuary, a local tort organization, two weeks before the new nonprofit goes into circulation, Castleman said. (Project Sanctuary did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
“It is time for proponents of these ineffective government measures to start paying the collateral damages they have created together,” the owner said.
The restaurant also plans to charge an additional $5 fee for people who are “bragged” about vaccinations, according to two billboards.
But Castleman said in a telephone interview: “I’m not forcing anyone to pay. I gave them the freedom to choose. This seems like a new concept in these areas of the country.”
In June 2020, Castleman temporarily closed a coffee shop 200 miles northwest of Sacramento after Mendocino County officials warned that masks were not an option at restaurants during the pandemic.
“The government shut everything down,” he said on Friday. “Everyone who wears a mask is a conspiracy.”
He fulfills a temporary mandate that requires roadside service only. But the need for masks for servers and other workers, he argues, is too much.
“I don’t believe in wearing masks,” Castleman said. “Our customer base is highly aligned with our beliefs. But I think some people are really unhappy with our coffee shop.”
“It’s their choice,” he continues. “They can choose the business they support. They can go and do any other business in my county, state.”
Dennis Romero contribute