Gary Kirby West Melbourne sports bar owner bans customers from wearing masks now receiving death threats.
Gary Kirby, the owner of Westside Sports Bar and Lounge in West Melbourne is requiring customers to take off their face mask upon entering the premises, with those who refuse being asked to leave, WESH 2 reports.
Explains Kirby, ‘…it’s completely unnecessary to have face masks at all. We do not support, we do not believe in them.’
West Melbourne, which is located in Brevard County, doesn’t have mask-wearing enforcement for business owners.
Kirby, started banning masks on September 11, placing a ‘Masks Prohibited’ sign the front door.
‘It’s hindering our lifestyle’
‘I personally don’t agree with it. So that’s why I made the decision to… I don’t want them here,’ the proprietor told via Fox 35 Orlando. ‘It’s hindering our lifestyle as we know it.’
As of September 19, there have been at least 677,652 cases and 13,224 deaths in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic, according to The New York Times.
Medical, science, and national experts urge people to wear face masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed over 203,000 people in the US.
People living in West Melbourne, which is in Brevard County, are encouraged to wear a mask and follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations, Don Walker, the communications director for Brevard County, previously told Fox News. Nevertheless, Walker said there is no law enforcement for mask-wearing.
West Melbourne Mayor Hal Rose said he opposes Kirby’s no-mask policy.
‘It’s a business owner’s right to dictate what they want inside their private business. I don’t support (Westside’s) philosophy. But it’s their right,’ he said.
Kirby claimed that while he ‘doesn’t approve’ of face masks, he is cleaning and enforcing social distancing at the bar. He has a doorman to keep track of the number of people entering the bar, and he hasn’t had one positive case of coronavirus despite thousands of temperature checks, he claimed.
‘.. statistically just as likely to get hit by a train’
‘I do agree that there is a virus, with a 1% death rate. I feel like we are statistically just as likely to get hit by a train,’ Kirby told Florida Today.
But there’s a catch. Death threats.
Since Kirby’s no-mask policy, he’s gotten a mix of death threats, bad online business reviews that are coming from Texas and California.
Posted a social media commentator, ‘You won’t stay in business long. Imagine being this ignorant and stupid. It must hurt.’
While another reflected, ‘Selfish and stupid not to wear a mask and to give no respect to people who want to wear one.’
That said, Kirby told of also receiving a ‘wave of support,’ from Facebook users who showing support him.
‘I’m getting messages on my Facebook saying, ‘Hey, football, we’re coming there to watch the game,” he told Fox 35.
It remained unclear if support would be ongoing in the event of a possible incident of contagion as a second wave is anticipated leading into the fall.