India — The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has been wreaking havoc around the world. Though the rate of its spread has slowed down in recent months – due to vaccines etc – one thing that has stood as a wall to keep everyone safe from the infection is face mask.
Health experts across the world, including from the World Health Organzation (WHO), are advising people to continue wearing masks; many states in India are penalising people for not wearing masks.
But in United States, the country worst-affected by Covid-19, a restaurant has sparked outrage on social media for its contoversial policy.
“FACE DIAPERS NOT REQUIRED! EVERYONE WELCOME,” declares the sign at BeckyJack’s Food Shack in Florida. The image was posted by the restaurant on its Facebook page on Valentine’s Day with the following post: “Howdy Folks! Happy Valentine’s Day. A friendly reminder that we DO NOT require Face Masks.”
Since then, the post has been shared 1,000 times and elicited 3,800 comments on the social media platform.
Some of the people who commented on the post early, said they love the restaurant and its food. “Love your restaurant and food!!! Thank you! We will be by soon,” said Kristine Rowles Pepe.
In fact, a few appreciated the post. “So glad you’re giving people the choice to wear or not wear a mask. Just like they have a choice to go or not go to your restaurant. I think we are all capable of making our own decisions when it comes to our health. Unfortunately there are those that think we need those decisions made for us!!” commented Ronda Shrigley Alley.
“This is fabulous! We will definitely be dining here!! Thank you for having common sense,” said another user Troy Christine Woest.
But others were aghast, calling the post a “cheap publicity stunt”.
“Enjoy your infamy while you can. Cheap publicity stunts are awesome. Team sports obviously not a thing your way. If you’re locals feel sitting side by side without distancing and limited seating is cool, again, enjoy,” said Adam Mullikin.
“Sad that egregious personal choice Trumps science based social responsibility,” John Dvoracek said in his comment. Others also said that “people like these are the reason we’re still in a pandemic”.
After the uproar on social media, the restaurant defended its poster and in a follow-up post, asked those who are hurt by the post to “unfriend them”.
“My email address is right here on our page. Y’all know me. Okay some do, the rest of Y’all have no clue where Weeki Wachee is. Yes we do not require facemasks and yes we think of them as diapers. We strive to be transparent. And to our friends.. unfriend us now because being our friend will hurt you,” the post on February 16 said.