Video of a mask-less scene in Southwest Florida business goes viral

Posted at 12:03 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 12:03:37-05

NAPLES, Fla.  —  Video from inside a Southwest Florida market has gone viral. And that's putting the community where the store is located under the spotlight as well.

The video - which aired on a national TV network - shows mask-less employees and customers in close contact at "Seed to Table market" in Collier County.

The video received more than 3,000,000 million views in just one day.

Criticism and praise have pouring in on social media.

The owner of the business says he likes the attention. And he defends the market's Facebook page, which shows videos of it hosting parties without masks.

"Believe me, if our customers were dying here, we wouldn't be doing it," says Alfie Oakes.

"The same crowd has been partying and hanging out here the last year."

"We never stopped," he adds.

"If one of them ever died, we would stop doing it."

After the video went viral, its parking lot was as packed as ever.

"I've never had more people come out and show their love for me," says Oakes.

"We're the busiest store in Southwest Florida," claims Oakes.

"Because we're making the right decision."

The Florida Department of Health says Collier county has reported 28,224 cases and 414 deaths from Covid 19 since the pandemic.

The five-county Southwest Florida region has reported more than 100,000 cases and more than 1600 deaths from covid 19.

Oakes says his fellow Collier County resident Senator Rick Scott is a friend who recommended Oakes speak with a renowned epidemiologist about Covid last year.

Oakes says the doctor characterized Covid 19 as a serious threat in a 1 1/2-hour conversation.

But Oakes says he walked away "more convinced than ever" that Covid 19 was not a serious threat.

Oakes has a history of making provocative - and often unsubstantiated - claims about other big issues of the day.

In media interviews and Facebook, he's denigrated George Floyd and verbally attacked social justice movements like Black Lives Matter.

Last month, Oakes organized and funded a road trip for a group of Southwest Florida Trump supporters to attend a Trump rally in Washington D.C. The central theme was President Biden did not win the election.

Biden won the electoral college by about the same margin that delivered Trump to the White House in 2016.

In the popular vote, Biden beat Trump by more than 7,000,000 votes.