Florida grocery store owner Alfie Oakes shared a video Thursday explaining his mask exemption policy for his supermarket in Naples, Florida after a viral clip on Twitter showed no one in his store wearing masks or following CDC guidelines this week.
The initial clip, posted to Twitter on Wednesday, offers a glimpse into Oakes Farms Seed to Table Market, where both customers and employees can be seen without masks throughout the store.
“We are the busiest store in all of Southwest Florida because we let people make the choice and most of the people choose not to wear a mask and that is personal responsibility,” Oakes said in the video. “If this was a very contagious deadly virus like the media wants you to believe, why are my 3,200 employees not fallen ill in the last year?”
Oakes goes on to explain that hundreds of people from around the country are moving to Florida every day because the state does not have any lockdown measures currently in place.
“I have never worn a mask in my life,” Oakes said. “We have 3,200 employees and everyone that wants to wear a mask can. Every customer that wants to wear a mask can, just most people choose not to and there is a reason for that because people are not dying. I know there are a lot of people that have been deceived up in the Northeast.”
According to Oakes, the real virus is the American media and its lies spread on television, he said.
“The media is the virus. The lies from the media are the virus.”
Oakes also posted on Facebook previously comparing incidents of a real and staged pandemic to prove that coronavirus is a hoax. In a staged pandemic, “politicians create panic in order to intimidate people,” the post read. “People fight over toilet paper. Evolving insights, ongoing modification of requirements and ever-changing rules and regulations extend the pandemic.”
The post continues to claim that in a real pandemic, everyone would know people in their community who were infected or ill, while in a staged pandemic the media drives “cases.”
Facebook users on Oakes’ page had mixed reactions to the post as some fully agreed, adding their support for his stance, while others shared their own opinions.
“You must know nobody who works in the healthcare field. Karma has a way of working things out though,” one user wrote.
“This literally doesn’t even make sense,” another user commented.
Oakes, a resident of Naples, Florida, was recently cut out of a multi-million dollar contract with the Lee County School District after remarks surrounding George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement on Facebook.
On June 8, 2020, Oakes posted to Facebook saying: “There is absolutely no dispute that George Floyd was a disgraceful career criminal, thief, drug addict, drug dealer and ex-con who served 5 years in prison for armed robbery on a pregnant woman, and spent his last days passing around fake 20s to store owners in Minnesota.”
Oakes continued by calling Floyd “a mindless drug addict” and police officer Derek Chauvin “a 20 year public servant.”
After his post erupted on Facebook, residents in Naples began protesting outside Oakes’ store. A counterprotest erupted offering drinks to his supporters.
Oakes’ supporters at the counterprotest also signed a petition to reinstate Oakes’ grocery store as a supplier to Lee County schools to no avail.