A new mask mandate went back into effect Tuesday encompassing almost the entire Bay Area, but there are of course some rebel-minded retail shoppers in the South Bay who are armed with their smartphone cameras and are blatantly breaking the rules. On Wednesday, The YouTube Channel ‘Easy Believism’ posted a video of an encounter inside Recycle Bookstore in San Jose.
It’s titled ‘Recycle Books HARASSED WOMEN!’ and shows a woman harshly complaining about being told to leave the store without wearing a mask even though she claims she is medically exempt and doesn’t have to wear one. (We all remember stuff like this from the early pandemic, yes? It doesn't get better!) This is the fourth video the channel has posted showing similar confrontations with workers inside the store. The employees simply appear to be trying to stay safe by enforcing the mask mandate. Four days earlier, the channel posted three videos with the same type of titles but in these videos, the agitators were two men who refused to mask up.
Those confrontations apparently happened on Friday leaving workers frustrated and stressed out. "I started getting emotional. I was like shaking, my heart rate was elevated for hours afterward," Fern Alberts, a worker at Recycled Bookstore told ABC7 News. "It's terrible. We're all so tired of it. Every worker has been dealing with this entire pandemic and it's like we come here, we have to work, we did this to pay our rent."
The Mercury News reports that late last month the same group refused to wear masks inside the LEGO and Disney Stores at San Jose’s Valley Fair. The two stores were already requiring masks inside the store before the mandate because so many young children visit the shops.
Recycled Bookstore may be getting targeted because it never stopped mandating masks, even when the state lifted all mask mandates broadly in June. The Mercury News spoke to the manager on duty at the time of the encounter with the two men, Ryan Cage. “They see you as a prop. You’re being used to get them more social capital or internet capital. There’s no penalty. When we said, ‘Look, we’ll call the cops,’ they were like, ‘We don’t care,’” Cage said.
Easy Believism sent a statement to ABC7 News:
"We're doing this to encourage other people to do the same thing. We are not saying COVID is not real. At this point, we are against mask mandates. We have not seen the science to show that masks are effective at blocking COVID. And we differentiate the difference between the opinion of scientists versus scientific papers. We want to see the evidence, not the conclusion. We do feel that civil code 51B does give us the right to go into the store without a mask because we are medically exempt from wearing masks. We are not against anybody, we are just against lies."