San Francisco, CA

Masked Customers Must Pay $5 to Keep Their Masks On

Samantha Kemp-Jackson

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"Pay to Stay" is the policy in this Mendocino cafe

There's a new store policy in town not all of the locals like it. Customers got a shock when they saw a newly-placed sign in the window at Fiddlehead’s Cafe in Mendocino recently.

“$5 FEE ADDED TO ORDERS PLACED WHILE WEARING A FACE MASK” was the message that was prominently displayed on the window of the cafe, in clear view of anyone planning entering the premises. In addition, anyone who may not have seen the sign on the door was greeted with a reminder sign located at the cash register. To add insult to injury, there were additional instructions on the poster that explained to customers that any person in the store that was "caught bragging" about being vaccinated would be charged “an additional $5 fee” which would be added to their bill. Perhaps in an effort to soften the blow of the financial penalty for mask-wearers, the sign also claimed that the fees collected will be donated to local charities that assist domestic abuse victims.

Previously, the cafe urged mask-wearing customers to throw their masks in the trash for an additional 50% off their orders

Any person in the store that was "caught bragging" about being vaccinated would be chaged “an additional $5 fee”

It's worth noting that previously, this same location had another sign prominently displayed, in addition to the one about the $5 fee. Posted on the store's social media feed, it urged passers-by to “Get your free COVID-19 vaccine card here!” The sign has since been removed.

The owner of the cafe, Chris Castleman, explains his rationale for the store policy:

“I’ve been told this whole time that wearing a mask is a small price to pay,” he 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.”

VIDEO: Cafe Offers 50% Off Order For Customers Who Throw Their Masks in the Garbage

Customers Divided on Mask Policy

As for compliance, Castleman explains that some customers have coughed up the money and others have refused, and have been outraged by the policy. According to the owner, the outrage is due to the charitable component, and not necessarily the choice to wear masks.

This isn't the first time that Castleman has bucked the rules and made his own for his customers. In April of this year, he offered a full $50 discount on orders to customers who threw their masks in the garbage.

Unfortunately for Meredith Smith, owner of the neighboring restaurant Mendocino Cafe, Castleman's choices have resulted in Smith's cafe receiving unwanted and negative attention.

“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.”

As for the Fiddlehead's Cafe policy, Castleman maintains his position. In addition, he says that he will be keeping the signs up for at least a couple of months due to his feeling that Mendocino County won't be rescinding its mask mandate anytime soon.

As of May 27, more than 81,600 vaccine doses have been administered to Mendocino County residents, according to California All.

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) advises that mask-wearing is just one of the things that people can do to keep the coronavirus at bay.

From the CDC website, here are some suggestions about how people can lower the risk of catching COVID-19:

Simple Ways to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

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California COVID-19 Statistics

As of May 28, California has 3,682,099 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 62,025 deaths.

CASES - 3,682,099 total - 4,864 today 2.4 new cases per 100K

DEATHS - 62,025 total - 170 today 0.04 new deaths per 100K

TESTS - 65,152,136 total - 202,116 today 0.9% test positivity

VACCINES ADMINISTERED - 37,100,162 total
(Source: California All)

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I write about Lifestyle content with a focus on Parenting, Society and Trends. I also talk about how things have changed on my podcast, "Parenting Then and Now."

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