Restaurant declares itself a “mask-free” zone, and what could possibly go wrong?

Illustration for article titled Restaurant declares itself a “mask-free” zone, and what could possibly go wrong?
Photo: courtneyk (Getty Images)

If you hate science but love chili cheese fries, then have we got a restaurant for you! The owners of Apple Bistro in Placerville, California, hate masks so much, they’ve outright banned them.

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“No social conditioning. No oxygen deprivation mask. No latex dirty germ spreader,” reads a spectacularly well-informed sign posted outside the restaurant’s front door.

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As you can imagine, the response from sane and rational would-be customers has been less than glowing: the restaurant’s Yelp reviews have been shut down entirely, and employees have been quite busy deleting all the negative feedback they’ve received on Facebook.

“I was just asked to leave this café, when I went in to grab an apple pie,” one woman wrote on social media, as quoted by local news affiliate KABC. “Why? Because I was wearing a mask. We stop almost every time we come up to the cabin. We will never stop there again.”

While Apple Bistro doesn’t deny the existence of the signs (which is smart, as there are many, many photos), management is denying that they have ever asked anyone to leave the restaurant because they were wearing a mask.

“No one has ever been asked to leave for wearing a mask, ever,” wrote the restaurant’s owners on Facebook. “We will not have vulgar posts, threats, or lies about us on our page attempting to ‘Cancel’ us.” The Apple Bistro has since deleted countless negative comments, but has left up the dozens of supportive ones which clearly identify the names of people who have a “difference of opinion” when it comes to science, making it easier for locals to know which members of their community they should be avoiding at all costs.

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“Love your restaurant and we admire your courage to stand up for freedom,” wrote Cheryl Abbitt. “Just because ‘the government says so’ does not mean it is in the best interest for the people.”

Another Facebook commenter, Leila Sermeck, noted that the reports of Apple Bistro being a fully mask-free zone may be incorrect, posting that she “saw waiters wearing masks who were serving customers who chose to wear masks.” However, her next sentence was “You accommodated both those who want masks and those who don’t,” so that tells you everything you need to know.

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Officials in El Dorado County officials have have said that the Apple Bistro and other restaurants that similarly believe that public safety protocols are optional, are about to start getting visits that I’m guessing they’ll be none too happy about. First, restaurants will be issued a warning; if they continue to refuse to comply with the safety mandates, they can have their license to serve food revoked.

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

Just because ‘the government says so’ does not mean it is in the best interest for the people.

Once again I am forced to ask, when did “it’s a free country” start to mean “I only need to follow the rules I want to?”