California Restaurant Owner Charges Customers $5 For Wearing Masks — Gives Discount To People Who Throw Theirs Away

Photo: NBC Bay Area
fiddleheads cafe california

If you like public health and eating at cafes, then one California cafe owner is going to fully disappoint you.

Chris Castleman, owner of Fiddleheads Cafe in Mendocino, California, is charging customers $5 extra who order their meals wearing a face mask inside his establishment.

This global pandemic has people around the world losing their minds, savings accounts, and sense of security, among other things. Coronavirus had our nation shook — everything closed, and the world grinded to a hault all at once.

While some were bored at home trying to figure out the next show to binge-watch on Netflix and remain disciplined enough to not eat everything in the fridge, others struggled to make ends meet with the closures of movie theaters, gyms, sporting events, and restaurants.

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So, why this one business owner feels as though ordinary people are to blame for his loss of revenue is kind of a mystery. 

Why is Chris Castleman charging masked customers extra?

Castleman is blaming customers who care about their safety for the government's decision to declare a mandatory lockdown and mask mandate.

Located in the window of the Fiddleheads Cafe is a sign letting diners know they will be charged an additional $5 for wearing a mask. The fine print of the sign also indicated that customers who bragged about getting a vaccine would be charged an additional $5.

"It’s time to end the mandates and start focusing on reversing the collateral damage done by these government restrictions," explained Castleman. “I decided to put the $5 fee sign up because the pro-mask people have been damaging our country for too long.” 

On the flip side, customers who choose to throw away their masks receive 50 percent off of their meals.

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There is a silver lining to his madness... sort of.

Money collected from these outrageous fees will go toward the local charity, Project Sanctuary. This nonprofit organization offers support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The question remains as to how much money is actually being raised for charity. Those who are in support of the mask mandate aren’t even dining at the cafe due to health concerns.

Castleman doesn’t require his staff or customers to wear a mask or adhere to social distancing. Although there’s a global pandemic that has killed millions around the world, Castleman has instead chosen to ignore a mask mandate, as well as put his staff and customers at risk.

He's also encouraging diners to ignore their health, as well as the well-being of others, for a measly gain of 50 percent off of a single meal.

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Logically, if more non-mask wearing customers are coming to the cafe than those that are pro-mask, it begs the question: Are you making money or losing business?

If restaurant owners are angry that Mendocino County fined them $10,000 for ignoring a mask mandate, why not say that? Don’t blame hungry mask-wearing customers for the mask mandate!

It's reasonable to ask whether or not Castleman was ever actually angry about the mask mandate at all, or was simply engaging in a publicity stunt.

Either way, punishing hungry customers is not the way to go. Let us eat in peace, safely, with or without a mask.

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La'Shawnte Burgess is a freelance writer that writes various articles on entertainment, news, and social justice issues.