A Sydney cafe has been blasted on social media for refusing to enforce a New South Wales government mask mandate.
Love Crepe, in the inner-west suburb of Drummoyne, on Tuesday posted a string of Instagram Stories declaring the mask mandate for Greater Sydney was “a crime against humanity” while tagging well-known anti-mask conspiracy theorist Alki David.
“Love Crepe believes that being forced to wear a mask is a crime against humanity,” the business said while noting it was an outdoor venue.
“Some of our staff suffer from conditions that prevent the use of mask (sic). Some staff chose to wear a mask and some did not.
“Our staff is not forced to wear a mask.
“We respect all customers whether they choose to wear a mask or not.”
The dessert bar requested on Instagram that people who wear masks at the cafe “sanitise each time you touch your mask.”
The Instagram stories were deleted on Wednesday.
NSW authorities made wearing masks compulsory in Greater Sydney on Sunday at indoor venues like gaming rooms, hair salons, places of worship and shops as part of efforts to limit the spread of the latest COVID-19 outbreak in the area. People were legally enforced from midnight local time on January 3, with a $200 fine for offenders starting Monday (January 4).
The law requires hospitality workers in hotels, bars, cafes and restaurants to wear a mask at all times.
Love Crepe told HuffPost Australia on Wednesday it did not wish to make further comment, though in a statement it said, “We will continue to put your and our staff’s health first always, including mental wellbeing.”
Sydneysiders have taken to social media to raise concerns about the cafe’s controversial move.
“What a terrible business,” a Reddit user posted on a thread titled, ‘These flogs think the mask mandate is a joke’.
Referring to masks, another posted, “Honestly it’s the best thing we can do. They want to risk the health and safety of the community? Fine, we will make sure their rating plummets.”
And yet another posted, “Hopefully the police have paid them a visit.”
The coronavirus predominantly spreads person to person through larger respiratory droplets. An infected individual usually expels the virus by coughing, sneezing, speaking or breathing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US late last year issued a scientific brief on face masks, further underscoring the benefits of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new CDC report departs from that line, stating directly that masks “help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer.”
Australia has largely avoided a high number of COVID-19 cases and deaths from the illness during the pandemic, in part due to border closures and effective infection tracking systems. Fresh outbreaks, though, are occurring in NSW and Victoria, including the Avalon December cluster and the Berala cluster.
The national case numbers total about 28,500, and there have been 909 deaths since the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020. Victoria reported just one new case on Wednesday, while NSW reported four cases.
With additional files from HuffPost US.