Saturday, June 3, 2023

Mendocino County Coast Restaurant Defies Pandemic Protocols by Offering 50% Discount to Patrons Who Throw Away Their Masks

The front of Mendocino’s Fiddleheads Cafe [All pictures provided by Mendocino resident Colin Morrow]

In the bucolic seaside town of Mendocino, Fiddleheads Cafe, a restaurant previously known for shutting down in June 2020 after refusing to comply with masking orders, has once again caused local consternation after owner Chris Castleman displayed a sign that reads, “Throw Your Mask(s) in our trash bin and receive 50% off your order.”

Mendocino County’s Code Enforcement Supervisor John Burkes said the county had received complaints regarding Fiddleheads and is “investigating as we speak.”

The sign that caused community concern and launched a new code enforcement investigation

When asked whether the “Throw Your Mask(s) in the Trash” sign was against the county health code, Burkes confirmed that as per Mendocino County Health orders, anybody entering or circulating in a facility is required to wear a mask.

When we asked Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams for comment regarding Castleman’s sign, he simply said, “Imagine the good he could do with that energy.”

In June 2020, Castleman organized a GoFundMe to help him “hire a lawyer to define our right to stay open and serve our customers.” The GoFundMe characterized Mendocino County’s attempts to enforce pandemic protocols as “3 months of attacks from a small group of activist/bullies and overreaching politicians.”

John Burkes of Code Enforcement confirmed that two notices of violations were issued to Castleman and an administrative citation in which fines were issued. When asked whether Castleman had paid the fine, Burkes explained the county provides an appeals process to anyone who is issued a fine and Castleman is currently appealing the administrative citation. 

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When we reached out to Castleman for comment regarding the controversial signage, Castleman sent us another sign currently being displayed on his storefront that “sums up my take on the situation.” 

The document that Castleman says “sums up” his reasons behind offering a 50% discount to patrons that burn their masks


The sign provides a list of requests that patrons are told “by entering these premises, you consent to the following”:

  • People might not be wearing masks, Please respect their freedom to breathe.
  • People may be within 6ft of one another, Please respect their freedom to socialize.
  • People might not be local, Please respect their freedom to travel
  • People might not be vaccinated, Please respect their freedom to live naturally
  • People may not share your opinions or feelings, Please respect their freedom to think independently

Other posters displayed on Fiddlehead’s storefront provide a philosophical backdrop for Castleman’s stances with one poster portraying a Bald Eagle overlaying an American flag wrapped with the words “Be American, Buy American.” 

Another poster includes a pair of military boots with dog tags hanging off of them emblazoned across red, white, and blue accompanied by the slogan “Home of the Free, Because of the Brave.”

Another notable piece of signage on Fiddleshead’s window seems to be a nod to the sovereign citizen movement. The sign warns of “NO TRESPASSING INCLUDING ALL PUBLIC OFFICIALS OR AGENTS THEREOF.” The document cites the 2nd and 4th Amendments claiming “ALLEGED ZONING OR CODE NON-COMPLIANCES DOES NOT ESTABLISH CONSTITUTIONAL REASONS FOR ENTERING THE PROPERTY.”

While Castleman continues to take on the County’s Health Orders, multiple entities in Mendocino County are continuing to push for masking compliance. The MaskUpMendo program, a collaboration between Chambers of Commerce throughout the county, businesses, and local industry, continues to spread awareness and education regarding the importance of masking to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. North Coast Opportunities continues to push out public service announcements encouraging residents to mask.

Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren in a press release published last week emphasized that in the aftermath of four COVID-19 variants being discovered within the county, “whether vaccinated or not, we as a community need to abide by COVID-19 precautions to avoid another surge.” 

As Code Enforcement continues to investigate the Fiddleheads circumstance, Supervisor John Burkes wanted to emphasize to residents that “we are aware of the community concerns and we’re investigating at this time. I am hesitant to say more as the investigation is still on-going.”

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  1. Great I love this if people don’t like it go elsewhere or stay home and hide from life ! We are making it a point to go to this establishment next time we go to the coast !!!!

  2. Nice Non-Statement Ted!…Chris has the correct approach to all this Covid Control the County is trying to hang on to…Go Chris…America!

    • Don’t go there if you are scared of the flu. Especially since your name is granny. Old people are supposedly at risk of the beer bug.

  3. Boy!! Now I want to take a trip to the Mendo Coast to support this man and his attempt to challenge the draconian regulations that are choking the life out of small American businesses. Salut, Fiddleheads!

  4. Yeah, this place will never get my business again. As a long time inland Mendocino County resident, I’ve always enjoyed my jaunts to Mendocino village. The pure ignorance and arrogance of this business owner to incite and encourage like ignorant folks clamoring over their freedoms being trampled because many more of us want to keep our fellow Americans safe is…ironic. Chris Castleman, may you permanently go out of business and may your old space be replaced by someone who hires your former staff and actually cares about the safety and well being of it’s patrons and community

    • The problem is what the idiots at the CDC are saying is safe is actually not safe at all. A lot of us now can see the problems in their response to all this.

      I pick on the CDC because they are the turds that the officials base their false emergency off of.

      Want to be healthy? Burn the masks. Get sunshine, be a normal damn human being!

  5. This guy is my hero. We need to stand up to tyranny on every level. No more masks. It’s not only unhealthy to always wear a mask but spiritually debilitating.

    I am so angry the community as a whole continues with this mask crap.

    • There’s zero correlation with states which enforce mask mandates and lower infection numbers. In fact, some mask mandated states have higher infection rates than non-regulated states.

      There is a 100% correlation between states with high levels of controlling government officials and high levels of closed small businesses.

  6. I just realized that any reply in this thread supporting this business are by trolls, at best.

    Love to see you gather on a Friday after 5:00 pm in front of the California Superior Court of Mendocino County ( State & Perkins Streets) and show your faces for all to see.

    Let’s see you “proud and loud” Americans in action.

    Good night and good luck!

    • Well people are sick of this crap. The other half are confused out of their minds by the media and government. Fear is a powerful weapon.

  7. Many disabled people have to wear masks and have for years before Covid-19, cancer patients often do and those with severe allergies, autoimmune disorders etc… All these despicable people cheering on discrimination against people with disabilities and health conditions is really something. People are so sure they know absolutely everything they don’t stop and consider people other then themselves. Shameful.

  8. Chris you are a true hero! We rebel because of the children who have committed suicide because of lock-downs, the skyrocket numbers of alcoholism, drug addiction, adult suicides, half the nation’s unemployment, starvations in third world countries because of supply chain failures, the push for 1984 style population surveillance, “health-passes”, and the billions of dollars that the elite are making off this!

    Mendocino and Sonoma county liberals, before this planned- scam-demic, you were totally against the 1% elites.. Now you defend their propaganda and eat up everything your fed from their own organizations. How bout reading what the 1% elites are envisioning for the worlds future and follow their money trails?

    Or, not and keep the TV on. I thought you guys were old hippies? Remember.. natural-paths? But now you run to big-pharma for salvation. Come on.. really? Take the chains off and live.

    • Bob, I have no idea who you are…and I imagine you know jack squat about me. That said, I’m a 50 something real person that’s experienced real life. Immigrant mother married American father at the end of WWII. Blue collar upbringing. LARGE extended blue collar family, that was 75% conservative/25% liberal. Lived in suburban middle class New York state, Michigan and rural California. I’ve been a business school graduate, carpenter, physical therapy assistant and now, a public servant in child welfare for 15 years. I’m so sick and tired of persecuted, crybabies like you whining about paying taxes and your micro freedom infringements. You got it better than most here in rural America. So tell me about you, or admit you’re just a troll or a bot. PS: To be honest, I think you to be a paranoid fool. Prove me wrong.

  9. Actually I have it way better now since my wife and I left crazy Sonoma County and Cali! I worked my way up from a minimum wage job into owning my own business after years and years of hard work, only to have it all destroyed because of these ridiculous health orders. You have to go into a restaurant with a mask, but as soon as you sit down you can take them off.. get real. Sir, I have paid taxes my whole working career. I appreciate good roads and all the infrastructure that creates a civilization. Yes sir, we are real people who are seeing evil people with power attempting to gain more power. If I was in Mendo I would be eating at Fiddleheads every day.

    • I been following this thread and I just wanted to say I agree 100% I think these health orders are completely ridiculous and the health department staff need to all be fired on the spot.

      This ordeal has destroyed lots of good hard working people for no reason other than politics. Masks are totally outrageous too I am very angry over this. Just had to get it off my chest. Thank you.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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