Peninsula coffee roasting company warns other businesses about fake face mask exemption fliers

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- The owner of a Peninsula coffee roasting company is warning other businesses about a fraudulent face mask flyer that, according to the Department of Justice, is making the rounds.

"It's incredibly ridiculous and I didn't get them anywhere!" exclaims Connoisseur Coffee Company owner Shawn McMillan. "It didn't get him his cup of coffee, it didn't get him his pound of coffee!"

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He's referring a printed out sign that, at first glance, looks like a real mask exemption flier. But upon closer inspection, he almost immediately knew it was fake.

"There is a number of grammatical errors and incorrect information on there," said McMillan, who says the phone number on the flier doesn't even work.

The Department of Justice even released a warning to be on alert for "fraudulent face mask flyers" and indicated their use has been on the rise.

The San Mateo County Health Department tells ABC7 News there are legitimate exemptions such as having a disability which would affect one's safety wearing a mask.

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Aaron Recine, one of McMillan's employees has heard all kinds of excuses. Unfortunately, many are illegitimate.

"I had one lady come in and she had two cuts in her mask, right here," he said while motioning to indicate two slits near the nostrils.

He went on to say, "She says, 'It's trouble for me breathing.' I said, 'Doesn't that defeat the purpose?'"

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Connoisseur Coffee has since been on the lookout for these fraudulent flyers and now has security cameras and reminders, like signs and even a bear statue with a mask everywhere, to wear a mask.

McMillan has this short and clear message to other business owners, "Don't fall for this!"

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