A month after lifting its restrictions, California has seen a sharp increase in its COVID-19 cases. However, one restaurant, Huntington Beach's Basilico's Pasta E Vino, sees the remaining mask and vaccination mandates as a violation of the liberty and freedom of the American people.
The business has stood by its anti-mask stance, stating that they don't encourage masks and masked individuals in the restaurant. The restaurant has taken it one step further, declaring that they will only cater to patrons who are not vaccinated.
According to the Department of Public Health’s July 21 news release, "People who are not vaccinated are at the highest risk of getting infected with COVID-19. Unvaccinated adults who are older or who have certain medical conditions are at highest risk of severe COVID-19 disease."
The department has urged people to wear masks, get vaccinated, and avoid crowded places, among other things. However, Pasta E Vino does not seem to have any concerns about the virus.
The restaurant was opened in 1999, and even when Covid-19 measures required all nonessential businesses to close down, the restaurant remained open. The restaurant owner launched an anti-mask campaign in 2020, with patrons who showed up with face covering being asked to leave or wait outside.
Tony Roman, the owner and whose mother Rosemarie is the appointed head chef, stated: “I’ve always viewed forcing masks on Americans as a symbol of control and surrender."
Roman discourages masks for his staff as well: "It’s our rule, if they don’t want to work here, they don’t have to work here."
The restaurant has also launched a merch line featuring their anti-mask and anti-vax sentiments, with items like The Godfather inspired T-shirts reading: "Leave the vax, take the cannoli."
The business refused to shut down multiple times last year, and following the mask mandate, the restaurant declared itself mask free.
In a post uploaded on June 27, 2020, the business stated: “So to be clear, if you enter the restaurant for dine in, and want to wear a mask, you must remove it when sitting down. If you are standing around inside and waiting for a table, or waiting inside to pick up food for yourself or as a third party delivery driver, and you are wearing a mask, you will be asked to wait outside.”
Recently, the restaurant has posted a sign outside stating that they will only serve unvaccinated patrons. Patrons are required to carry proof of the same and produce it when asked.
The sign read: "Notice: proof of being UNvaccinated required. We have zero-tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering."
The restaurant has been slammed online for its anti-mask and anti-vax stance, with one person commenting: "These people in Huntington Beach requiring proof of NO VACCINATION will be the same ones in a few months sharing their GoFundMe's for funeral expenses."
A second person wrote: "Super spreader restaurant alert in Huntington Beach, California."
A third commented: "California has a few pockets full of dumbo Conservatives that can even give #FloridaMan some competition in the ignoramus department. The restaurant Basilico’s Pasta E Vino in Huntington Beach,CA is an example of that inbred stupidity."