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Alfie Oakes continues to oppose mask mandate with signs calling out commissioners

A businessman is making sure his opinion on the mask mandate in Collier County is heard loud and clear.

Alfie Oakes, the owner of Oakes Farms, posted signs at his businesses, calling three Collier County commissioners “socialists” and telling code enforcement not to enter.

Oakes has been outspoken against many aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, especially the use of masks as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Oakes is suing Collier County to have it thrown out, calling it a governmental overreach.

Over the phone Thursday, Oakes told us the signs in front of his business are his latest demonstration to express views toward the mask mandate that passed in the county.

“It’s about controlling the people,” Oakes said. “It’s all about control. There’s huge amounts of money that have been lobbied into a lot of different municipalities across the country to enforce mask mandates when we have literally every real scientific study that’s been done shows that the masks do not help with the virus.”

The mask mandate passed 3-2 in Collier County. It shows the two commissioners who opposed it wearing Uncle Sam hats and the three who favored it wearing spiked, military-style helmets, labeled as socialists.

“As far as the pictures go, it was just to add a little bit of humor into the very sad situation of where we’re at right now in this country,” Oakes said.

In the parking lot of one of Oakes’ stores, which is shared with Dunkin Donuts, we met Bryan Holmes. He told us he wears a mask for the health of his family and won’t shop there.

“My father has multiple pre-existing health conditions, so I’ve been very safe,” Holmes said. “Again, it’s not me doing it for myself; it’s taking care of my family.”

Thomas Romero doesn’t wear a mask, and he says it’s also for the health of the people close to him.

“The other day I went out with my girlfriend, and she had to wear a mask and then she had her problems,” Romero said. “When we were out, she started feeling very weak and that she had to sit down because her head was hurting so much, and the mask didn’t do anything. It’s basically just hurting you.”

Romero told us he likes the freedom Oakes offers his customers.

“I don’t like wearing a mask,” Romero said.

Holmes told us he does not like the signs Oakes now has standing outside his business.

“It’s just in tandem with his lack of respect towards our elected officials,” Holmes said.

We reached out to each Collier County commissioner. Penny Taylor responded to us and said she can’t comment because of the lawsuit Oakes is filing against the county.

Reporter:Gail Levy
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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