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Restaurant that took anti-mask stance now says it will only serve unvaccinated diners

The owner hopes other restaurants join its crusade against COVID-19 restrictions.
Huntington Beach restaurant urges unvaccinated diners
Signs at Basilico's Pasta e Vino in Huntington Beach, California, announce that only unvaccinated customers are welcome.Jeff Gritchen / Orange County Register via Getty Images

A California restaurant that earned attention last year for its anti-mask policy has taken its stance one step further with the recent announcement that it will only serve unvaccinated diners.

"We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity," reads a sign posted on social media and on the windows of Basilico's Paste e Vino, a neighborhood Italian restaurant in Huntington Beach.

The restaurant also said that it would be "requiring proof" that customers are not vaccinated, although it's not clear what that would be, and an employee told the Los Angeles Times that staff are not actually checking diners' vaccination statuses.

TODAY Food has been unable to reach the restaurant by phone.

The restaurant opened in 1999, although it has been in its current location since 2017.Jeff Gritchen / Orange County Register via Getty Images

The bold stance comes amid tightening restrictions related to COVID-19. California announced Monday it will require proof of vaccination for state and health care workers, and the Centers for Disease Control announced Tuesday that fully vaccinated people should begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high transmission rates.

"Here they come to lock you down again," the restaurant wrote on Instagram Tuesday, where it also announced "The Basilico's Declaration and Pledge of Defiance" and encouraged other restaurants to join the movement.

The pledge urges restaurant owners to remain fully open in the event of an ordered shutdown, not only resist but "attack" lockdowns, hang both the American flag and a "Do Not Tread on Me, Live Free or Die" flag in front of their businesses, ignore citations and notices to appear in court, as well as ban masks.

Another sign outside the restaurant tells people to "leave the mask" and "take the cannoli."Jeff Gritchen / Orange County Register via Getty Images

"We understand that masks are the greatest weapons of the lockdowns," owner Tony Roman says in a video shared on Instagram. "They are used to divide Americans, just like the vaccination, and they represent fear, control and surrender."

Roman has not yet responded to a request for additional comment.

Basilico's website describes the Italian restaurant as a warm and cozy spot that was started by a first-generation American in 1999 and moved to a new location nearby in 2017.

Since the pandemic, many restaurants across the U.S. have taken polarizing stances on masks. One Florida restaurant went viral for its "face diapers not required" sign. On the flip side, an Atlanta restaurant recently announced it would only serve customers who have been vaccinated, posting a sign that reads, "No vax, no service."