A café in Northern California is raising money for charity by charging customers a fee if they order while wearing a face mask or are “caught bragging” about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
SFGate reported that customers at Fiddlehead’s Café in Mendocino, California, are greeted with signs in the window as they enter and at the cash register, mentioning a “$5 fee added to orders placed while wearing a face mask” in large, bold print. Beneath the large lettering are two additional notes, one saying customers would be charged “an additional $5 fee” if they were “caught bragging” about getting vaccinated and another note saying all of the additional charges would be donated to local charities that help domestic abuse victims.
As SFGate reported, Fiddlehead’s removed a previously displayed handwritten sign that read: “Get your free COVID-19 vaccine card here!”
Chris Castleman, who owns the café, told the outlet that some customers were upset about the fee while others have paid it. Castleman suggested people were actually outraged about the charitable donations.
“I’ve been told this whole time that wearing a mask is a small price to pay,” Castleman said. “Some people get shocked by the sign but to see them turn around and get disgusted … when they’re asked to pay $5 [for charity], it’s not in their wheelhouse. It’s not something they’re choosing to do.”
More from SFGate:
As of Thursday afternoon, Fiddlehead Cafe’s business page has temporarily been disabled on Yelp to prevent reviews from being made following the signs placed on Monday. But it hasn’t prevented neighboring restaurant Mendocino Cafe from receiving unwanted attention, according to business owner Meredith Smith.
“What’s happening is that we’re on the same corner,” Smith explained. “I get a lot of feedback directed at him. They think I’m him, we’re across the street from one another.”
Smith, who says Mendocino Cafe enforces mask use indoors, said she spoke with Castleman in April. That was when he announced that customers who tossed their masks in the trash would receive 50% off their order. She says the conversation didn’t really go anywhere and that she hasn’t tried to engage with him since.
Castleman told the outlet that he will leave the signs up for at least a couple months and stood his ground when asked if he believed the extra charges were fair. He added that he didn’t believe Mendocino County would end its mask mandate even though Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) has planned to reopen the state on June 15.
SFGate reported: “Mendocino County is currently in the yellow tier of California’s color-coded system of reopening. As of May 27, more than 81,600 vaccine doses have been administered to Mendocino County residents, according to California All.”
Newsom currently faces a recall over his handling of the coronavirus, which included shutting down the state and harming the economy while allowing certain, favored industries (like Hollywood) to return to business much sooner.
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