‘Don’t shut her down’: Anti-mask protesters rally behind Windermere restaurant after owner says she wouldn’t require face masks

Video: Anti-mask protesters rally behind Windermere restaurant after owner says she wouldnt require face masks

WINDERMERE, Fla. — Anti-mask protesters gathered outside a Windermere grilled cheese restaurant on Saturday to support the owner after she said she wouldn’t require masks inside her establishment.

In response, the protesters organized the gathering outside 33 & Melt with a promise of 100 free meals for patrons who come without any masks.

Orange County currently has a mask mandate in place requiring face coverings in public.

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents inspected the restaurant Saturday and questioned restaurant owner Carrie Hudson as protesters shouted “don’t shut her down” and “it’s wrong.”

“This is a single woman who is running this grilled cheese business, this is her dream and all she is doing is standing up for the rights of people to make their own medical decisions, OK,” said protester Chris Nelson. “And you know what? You want to call me selfish for not wearing a mask? I want to say to you, all the people calling me selfish, you are the one who is trying to force me, a medical procedure, so you can feel more safe.”

“If you are afraid, if you are at higher risk, feel free to stay home, feel free to wear a mask, feel free to social distance,” added protester Tara Hill. “That is your choice and we respect it. We want our choices respected as well.”

In April, 33 & Melt caused a stir on social media after the owner posted that she would reopen the restaurant for dine-in seating before Florida’s shutdown measures lifted.

Thomson Reuters contributed to this report.

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