I was dress shopping for a wedding at Tyson’s Corner in Virginia last Thursday when I saw two security guards and a man wearing a “Let’s Go Brandon” sweatshirt having a heated discussion.
Usually I would assume shoplifting was involved and move on, but considering the left’s freakout over the “Let’s Go Brandon” chants sweeping the country and their insistence on punishing those who use the phrase, I stopped to listen to the exchange.
I soon gathered that the man, who later identified himself to me as Alex Caballero, was kicked out of the nearby Apple Store for allegedly violating their mask mandate. Caballero told the security guards that he entered the store because he had a service appointment. When the store’s security guard told him he needed to wear a mask, he pulled a gaiter up over his face. The store guard and manager insisted that Caballero’s gaiter wasn’t good enough and told Caballero he would need to wear a mask provided by the store or leave. Caballero asked to see the store policy indicating he could not wear a gaiter, but the guard and manager refused and instead threatened to call the police. No one involved refuted Caballero’s version of events.
After about a 15-20 minute conversation outside of the store, one of the security guards told Caballero that he was “free to go”, because apparently it’s not only legal, but a good use of time and resources to detain someone because Apple didn’t like the type of mask they were wearing.
The Apple Store mask policy does not specifically prohibit gaiters. The company website says the following:
N95 masks with valves, and masks that do not cover your nose and extend below your chin — such as bandanas, are not permitted at Apple Stores. Replacement masks will be provided as needed.
Does a gaiter not extend below the chin and cover the nose? I asked the manager of the store if he could clarify the mask policy, and he declined and told me to call corporate. I reached out to Apple via their listed contacts for media and did not receive a response.
Caballero told me he suspects his “Let’s Go Brandon” sweatshirt played a part in the hostility showed to him by the Apple Store employees and Tyson’s Corner Security guards.
What is more obvious is how absurd it is that people are still dealing with inane corporate mask policies more than a year and a half since the start of the pandemic. We have seen time and again how businesses implement poorly defined, unnecessarily strict, or just plain unscientific mask mandates in the name of “public health”. To most sane employees, enforcing these policies is an inconvenience. Some, unfortunately, abuse this new power they have over customers, leading to incidents like the one at Tyson’s on Thursday.
You know what’s even sillier about the Apple employees’ insistence that a gaiter wasn’t an acceptable mask? Just a day later, Bloomberg reported that Apple would remove its mask mandate for customers at over 100 stores due to declining COVID-19 cases and rising vaccinations across the country.