A Florida restaurant went viral after a photo in a Valentine’s Day Facebook post announced its mask policy: “Face diapers not required! Everyone welcome.”
BeckyJack’s Food Shack in Spring Hill, Florida, announced to patrons that it does not require masks with the post, showing the sign. “A friendly reminder that we DO NOT require Face Masks,” the post says.
BeckyJack’s owner Jesse Fox told Newsweek in a phone call that the post was not a sign that the restaurant has up on display, but that will change soon, as he has ordered one for the Food Shack. He said that he’d ordered from a print shop in Canada, which had shipped it out on Monday.
Fox said that the sign wasn’t meant to offend people but rather to inform potential customers about the restaurant’s laissez-faire mask policy.
“I was trying to be proactive. People were coming in, and they were surprised that we weren’t wearing [masks]. So, I was just: ‘Hey, just letting everybody know, just in case you’re coming out—letting you know—we do not require [masks] here in case that’s a problem for you. Then, I’ll save you time.’ That’s all. It wasn’t really meant to divide the nation and the country and the world, but it has,” he said.
Even though the message on the sign is a little jarring, the owner said he was merely inspired from hearing a customer call masks “face diapers.”
“We had a customer use that verbiage with us. They said, ‘Thank you for not requiring face diapers.’ So, I went out and found one that said it, and that’s what we got,” he said.
When asked if he could see why someone may be offended by the sign, Fox responded, “If you get hurt by words, then yeah—I see how people could get hurt by a sign.”
Local CBS-affiliate WFLA reported that masks aren’t required for patrons or employees. Fox told Newsweek that the staff doesn’t wear masks, and only about 80 percent of customers wear masks.
People on Facebook responded positively to the policy, leaving comments on the post praising BeckyJack’s. “So glad you’re giving people the choice to wear or not wear a mask. Just like they have a choice to go or not go to your restaurant,” one comment that received over 400 reactions said.
Despite the majority of comments praising the restaurant, a few people did call out BeckyJack’s for not requiring masks. One comment that received 57 reactions shared a meme calling it, “The stupidest f***ing thing I’ve seen all day.”
Even though some people did criticize the restaurant, Fox doesn’t seem worried, as the restaurant has received an influx of business following the post. He also said that he’d been originally slowed down advertising the restaurant to give staff time to train for the upcoming season, but the viral post has brought more people in.
“I’m slammed busy. We did in two days what we normally do in four. There’s way more positive than negative,” he said.
Fox reiterated that he didn’t intend to upset people with the post. “The post was to let people know that masks weren’t required. It wasn’t to be offensive; it was to be informative,” he said.
A screenshot shows the “Face Diapers” sign that BeckyJack’s Food Shack posted on Facebook on Valentine’s Day. Screenshot/Facebook