Anti-lockdown California café owner is charging customers $5 if they wear masks but says he will donate the money to charity

GN   Jane Tyska:Digital First Media:East Bay Times via Getty Images
California governor Gavin Newsom

A California café owner has said he will charge customers $5 if they wear masks inside his restaurant to push back against lockdown restrictions, Fox Business reported on Tuesday.

Chris Castleman, owner of Fiddleheads Café, told Fox host Stuart Varney in an interview that he was against COVID-19 restrictions, and that it was “time to fight back.”

Castleman said that customers have mostly responded well to the new charge.

Castleman told Fox he would donate the extra money to charities “dealing with the overwhelming consequences of the lockdowns.”

5 fee
Fiddleheads Café in California is charging customers $5 for wearing masks.

“Us anti-maskers have been paying a huge price for our beliefs,” Castleman told Insider in an emailed statement. “We’ve been banned from all public spaces, screamed at in the streets, and shunned from society.”

Castleman told Insider he laid off his entire staff last year due to the COVID-19 lockdown, and has not been able to re-hire them.

“The lockdown has decimated most restaurants in the country,” he told Insider. “My business has lost hundreds of thousands in revenue, and the loss continues because I am still capped at 50% seating capacity.”

Castleman started crowdfunding on GoFundMe in June last year to “help fight COVID restrictions” after his café was fined $10,000 for failing self-certify with Mendocino County – a declaration that business owners had implemented COVID-19 safety measures.

So far, the campaign has raised more than $9,500.

In December, California governor Gavin Newsom put million of state residents back into a restrictive lockdown, with most businesses forced to close.