The owner of a bar in Florida does not allow face masks to be worn inside and said anyone who wears one will be thrown out.
Westside Sports Bar & Lounge in West Melbourne serves food in addition to drinks, so it did not have to close like other bars did because of coronavirus restrictions. Owner Gary Kirby told reporters, "we do not believe in" wearing masks to help combat the pandemic.
"We find it completely unnecessary to have face masks at all," Kirby said, reports Tampa's WESH. "We do not support them; we do not believe in them."
Kirby said the issue is a security one, as someone committed a crime in the bar and could not be identified on security cameras because of a mask. He added that the mask ban is helping his business.
"My Facebook, the business page, has taken off. They love it," he said.
A quick look at the bar's Facebook page reveals several comments both in favor and against the new policy. One person asked why masks were banned, and the bar staff responded with a lengthy note about their reasons — and referred to COVID-19 as the "China virus," a term often used by President Donald Trump.
There's a sign on the bar's front door that reads, "Masks Prohibited."
Health officials have stressed the importance of wearing face masks to help slow the spread of the virus. The U.S. has seen 6.8 million cases of the virus and more than 202,000 deaths. In Florida, according to WorldoMeter, around 675,000 people have gotten sick — the third highest total in the country — and more than 13,000 have died.
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