A taxi company in St. Louis, Missouri, is turning away customers vaccinated against COVID-19 and barred the use of face masks inside his cars.
"We don't allow any type of masks in our vehicles," Charlie Bullington, the owner of Yo Transportation, told KMOV. "The second one is we are very against the vaccine and don't allow people in our vehicle that did get the vaccine."
Bullington's decision came after he read websites touting baseless conspiracy theories that the vaccine is not safe and that face masks are not effective and spread "germs," the outlet reported.
Bullington said that, based on his research, he believes masks are germ catchers.
Approved COVID-19 vaccines, face masks, social distancing, and hand washing are all recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Bullington told KMOV that he checks customers' vaccination status before offering them his service. A customer told Riverfront Times that he refused to give her a ride when she informed Bullington that she was vaccinated.
The new rules have caused controversy in the community, according to the outlet, and customer's Yelp reviews regarding Bullington's anti-mask viewpoint could be traced back way to last August before the vaccines were available to the public.
One customer who gave the company one star wrote: "Called to get a ride and was told, 'vaccinated people aren't allowed in our cars.' Good luck with that business model."
Another customer lauded Bullington's rules.
"Glad to see someone doing this with the mask and the vaccines," the review said. "I am totally against both. "
Throughout the summer, Missouri was one of the states hardest hit by COVID-19. As Insider previously reported in July, 96% of new cases in the state were from the Delta variant. Data shows that only 41% of people in Missouri are fully vaccinated, as of August 5.
"I understand Missouri is one of the top three states with the lowest vaccination rate, so I am proud of all the Missouri people for standing against this," Bullington told KMOV.