The owner of a Sydney dessert bar, who has been blasted on social media for refusing to enforce the NSW mask mandate, admitted to calling out some customers that wear masks.
Nick Kondilis, who owns the Drummoyne cafe Love Crepe, copped backlash on social media on Tuesday when he posted a string of Instagram Stories declaring the mask mandate for hospitality workers in 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 on its official Instagram account while noting it was an outdoor venue.
The dessert bar requested in another post that people who wear masks at the cafe “sanitise each time you touch your mask.”
After receiving much criticism online, Kondilis posted a video apologising to his staff for using their image in the original post but said he stood by his views and added that he singles out customers who choose to wear masks at his shop.
“If you do wear a mask please sanitise because I think it’s disgusting,” he said during the video.
“People are wearing masks, they’re not washing them, they’re touching them with their hands then they’re putting their hands all over our counter and that’s how diseases do spread.
“I probably have told you, if you’ve come into our shop, you probably have heard me say, ‘If you do touch your mask, please sanitise, otherwise do not wear a mask.’”
Kondilis went on to say he’s had 100 people give his business a one-star review and he’s closed the store and won’t open till “tomorrow, next week or next month” when his staff are comfortable.
He then declared he did not believe masks work and claimed that the World Health Organisation “back in August put out a statement saying that masks are no good, especially during a pandemic, they cause more damage than good.”
The World Health Organisation has advised throughout 2020 “masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives” and said communities should “make wearing a mask a normal part of being around other people.”
NSW Health has continually supported the use of masks on public transport and around crowds where it is hard to socially distance before this month making masks compulsory in Greater Sydney at indoor venues like gaming rooms, hair salons, places of worship and shops.
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.
It is not clear if Kondilis or staff at Love Crepe were fined.
Experts suggest the anti-mask attitude comes down to people thinking their right to free speech has been taken away.
“There is the notion of enforcing mandatory masks violates a person’s right to make decisions about their own body and health,” Dr Nelu Simonsz told HuffPost Australia adding that using social media to portray messaging that contradicts health recommendations can impact the fight against this virus
“I can understand why it feels unfair that we are forced to dress a certain way. But if it is for the greater good of ourselves and those around us then we need to do what is recommended. If what is happening overseas is any lesson to us, it’s that we need to be vigilant. We are mandated to do things all the time for our own health and safety, and that of others - wearing seat beIts and not drink driving for example. Most wouldn’t think twice about these being a crime against humanity.”
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 Northern Beaches December cluster and the Berala cluster.
There were no locally acquired cases of coronavirus in NSW and Victoria on Thursday.
With additional files from HuffPost US.