West Shore RCMP say they have issued two tickets to a man not wearing a mask who was belligerent with staff at two Victoria businesses on Monday.
Police said staff at a Peninsula Co-op gas station on Millstream Road in Langford contacted them around 3:30 p.m. after a man refused to wear a face covering while inside the store and then refused to leave.
The man did not cooperate with officers, who arrested him for causing a disturbance, RCMP said. The 40-year-old West Shore resident was charged under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act for failing to wear a face covering, which carries a $230 fine.
On Tuesday, RCMP became aware of a video posted to social media that showed the same man verbally abusing staff at a Starbucks in View Royal on Monday. RCMP reached out to the coffee shop, which did not report the incident to police.
The video shows a staff member asking a man without a mask to stand at a designated spot to maintain physical distance, and the man replying, “I don’t stand where people tell me.”
RCMP said they found the man and issued him another $230 ticket for failing to wear a face covering.
“No employee or member of the public should be subject to verbal abuse or be put at risk by anyone refusing to wear a face covering,” RCMP said in a statement.
“This type of belligerent and grossly ignorant behaviour is unacceptable.”
B.C. announced last month that masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases, and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth unveiled penalties for anyone ignoring the order.
Violators are subject to a $230 fine, although anyone unable to put on or remove a mask without assistance is exempt from the rules.
The incidents on Vancouver Island are the latest example of workers involved in confrontations with customers over the use of face coverings.
RCMP said they arrested a man in Dawson Creek, B.C. last week following the assault of a Walmart employee who asked a customer to wear a mask.
The Kootenay Co-op grocery store in Nelson has hired a security guard following an uptick in people refusing to wear a mask and becoming combative when told to do so.
And a hotel worker, also in Nelson, suffered a heart attack shortly after a confrontation with a patron who spat on her after refused to wear a mask.
— With files from Richard Zussman and The Canadian Press
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