A viral video showing people in a Florida grocery store shopping without masks has sparked intense reactions on social media.
“Naples, Florida. Let’em die. I’m so tired of these people. No vaccines for y’all,” prominent doctor Cleavon Gilman wrote in a now-deleted tweet in response to the video.
In the 15-second video, customers and employees are seen inside Oakes Farms Seed to Table store without wearing masks. It has since spread on social media, racking up nearly 3 million views since it was first posted Wednesday.
As #Flordia fights community spread of COVID on a massive scale, this is a 15-second snapshot of a supermarket in Naples. Many employees and customers- even older ones- with no masks on inside. Store sign outside cites “medical exemptions,” we can’t ask questions. @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/rNUSOPLjeB
— Sam Brock (@SamBrockNBC)
February 3, 2021
Many have condemned the scene, laying blame on the store’s owner, who posted a sign saying employees would not enforce mask-wearing if a person has a medical condition.
Shocking… In comments from locals we see the owner is aggressively taking a stand and, incidentally, arranged for buses to take people to the Jan. 6th Capital rally-turned-riot in DC.
Statistically, practices in his store will kill people and ripple through Naples & beyond. https://t.co/LvyKQjjitK
— Holland Taylor (@HollandTaylor)
February 4, 2021
Others have defended the store, saying Florida might be the “most free state in the nation.”
The Today show spoke with Alfie Oakes, the store’s owner, who said that he doesn’t believe masks help mitigate the spread of the virus, which contradicts guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I know that the masks don’t work. And I know that the virus has not killed 400,000 people in this country. That’s total hogwash,” Oakes said. “Why don’t we shut the world down because of a heart attack? Why don’t we lock down cities because of heart attacks?”