Several shoppers and employees at a bustling Florida supermarket went maskless in defiance of a county mandate, alarming footage shows.
A 15-second clip posted to Twitter Wednesday shows just a few shoppers and virtually no employees wearing face coverings at an Oakes Farms Market in Naples — where a sign outside says customers are exempt from Collier County’s mask mandate if they have a medical condition.
One maskless female employee is seen laughing at a customer who also eschewed donning a mask, while two workers and another patron were all without personal protective equipment at another checkout aisle, the footage shows.
Some of the employees and customer appeared to be over 65, which puts them at greater risk of death or requiring hospitalization if diagnosed with COVID-19. Those 85 and older face the highest risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A woman who tweeted that she lives just minutes away from the supermarket posted a photo of a sign purportedly posted outside that says workers “will assume” customers without masks have a medical condition making them exempt from the mandate.
“It is absolutely astonishing to see the lack of Covid procedures everywhere in that store,” the tweet read in part. “No employees wear masks, they still sell Trump merchandise outside, and they have this sign when you first walk in.”
More than 1.74 million cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed statewide, leading to 27,019 deaths, according to Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard.
In Collier County, where a mask mandate reportedly runs through April, 413 deaths have been reported among more than 28,000 cases tallied.
The owner of the supermarket, Alfie Oakes, filed a federal lawsuit in November challenging the constitutionality of the county’s mask order, the Naples Daily News reported.
A federal judge on Wednesday tossed the lawsuit, which alleged the county’s order violated Oakes’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Oakes alleged the mandate was being “selectively enforced” and claimed he was being targeted due to his political views, the newspaper reported.
Oakes has reportedly called the virus a “hoax” and has been vocal opponent of the mask order. A message seeking comment from Oaks Farms Market reps was not immediately returned Thursday.