Penticton RCMP is asking for a woman who allegedly assaulted a liquor store employee after refusing to wear a mask to come forward and speak with investigators.
Police say the confrontation occurred on Nov. 21 just before 2 p.m. at the Skaha Lake Liquor Store.
The woman entered the store without a mask, in violation of B.C.’s new COVID-19 mandatory mask policy, and when asked to put on one, she allegedly damaged an employee’s cell phone and spit at him.
In a Facebook post, the liquor store released surveillance footage of the incident.
The customer allegedly threatened to sue the store’s owner after the employee refused her service, so the employee contacted his boss over the phone for further direction.
The employee can be seen passing his cellphone to the woman so she could speak with the business owner directly, and after a few moments, she appears to intentionally drop the phone on the ground before exiting the store.
“It’s extremely troubling an employee who was only following the Provincial health orders, was subject to an assault of this nature,” said Sgt. Jason Bayda.
“Spitting at someone is a concern anytime, let alone in the midst of a pandemic.”
Although police are in receipt of CCTV images of the woman, they would like to first provide her an opportunity to come forward and speak to police, Bayda said.
The woman was wearing a black and pink coloured jacket and is described as female, approximately 60 years of age, Caucasian with grey hair.
Penticton RCMP is asking the woman or anyone else who may have information to call them at 250-492-4300 or to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
It’s the second incident involving an anti-masker confronting staff at a business in the Okanagan over the weekend.
On Saturday, a Kelowna business owner said she was berated and harassed by three men while holding her baby after they refused to don masks inside her store.
The mask mandate is part of sweeping new measures aimed at reducing community transmission of COVID-19, as daily case counts shatter records in Metro Vancouver.
The mask order applies to all indoor public settings and retail stores.
There is an exemption for children under the age of two and anyone who can’t put on or remove a mask on their own.