EXCLUSIVE: San Jose businesses targeted by anti-maskers amid Delta variant surge

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: SJ businesses targeted by anti-maskers amid surge
Some businesses in San Jose are dealing with a group of anti-maskers, who have been harassing customers and staff.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Some businesses in San Jose are dealing with a group of anti-maskers, who have been harassing customers and staff.

Fern Alberts is the book buyer at Recycle Books, where they've required customers and staff to wear masks during the pandemic.

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While the store has dealt with it's share of people who do not want to wear masks, what happened on Friday takes the cake.

"I started getting emotional. I was like shaking, my heart rate was elevated for hours afterwards," Alberts said.

Video taken by another employee shows the two men, without masks and phone cameras rolling, enter the store and begin making accusations to the staff - Asking why they need to wear a mask, who the owner of the store is, and even insulting a customer calling her a "Karen." When the customer says she's Mexican, one man then says, "adios" is a dismissive tone.

VIDEO: Anti-mask protesters try to force way into stores at mall caught on camera

Shoppers and employees at the Century City mall on Sunday became the target of anti-mask protesters who forcefully spread their message to anyone wearing a mask -- which was everyone at the mall because masks are required.

Despite repeated requests by employees to leave, the men refuse to mask up and after buying a book, leave. They return a short time later to return the book.

"It is literally put our lives in danger." Says Alberts who goes on to say "It's terrible. We're all so tired of it like 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."

San Jose Police tell ABC7 News that during the pandemic, they've taken a stance on education more so than enforcement. Even so, business owners can admonish a customer who refuses to comply so a citation or arrest can be made.

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Meantime, a person who requested to stay anonymous, says men from the same group barged their way, again unmasked and phone cameras rolling, into the Lego store in the Valley Fair Mall.

YouTube video from a group called "Easy Believism" shows both the Lego store and Recycle Books interactions from their point of view.

ABC7 News reached out to the group, via YouTube. They responded with a statemen saying:

"We're doing this do encourage other people 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."

Employees at Recycle Books say contending with anti-maskers in not uncommon. Just days earlier a group of women even dropped off a fake "arrest warning" at the store.

Their message to the men in this video?

"Let us work. We're just trying to pay rent."