California cafe owner charges customers $5 fee for wearing masks


People who tossed their masks were offered a 50 percent discount at the Fiddleshead Cafe in Mendocino, a sign read.

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(NBC News) —  Diners are mostly free to speak their mind at a Northern California cafe, but doing so through the protective confines of a mask will cost a cover charge of $5.

Fiddlehead’s Cafe in Mendocino on Sunday put up a sign announcing the fee for customers who wear masks while ordering. In March, the cafe announced an ongoing 50 percent discount for those who throw their face coverings in the trash, said owner Chris Castleman, 34.

“I don’t think $5 to charity is too much to ask from mask wearing customers who claim to care so much about the community they live in,” he said by email.

Proceeds will go to Project Sanctuary, a local domestic abuse organization, for two weeks before a new nonprofit enters the rotation, Castleman said. (Project Sanctuary did not immediately respond to a request for comment).

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