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Anti-masker allegedly spits on Penticton liquor store employee, damages his cell phone

Click to play video 'Anti-mask confrontation at Penticton liquor store caught on surveillance video' Anti-mask confrontation at Penticton liquor store caught on surveillance video
WATCH: Surveillance video, released by Skaha Lake Liquor Store, shows the confrontation with a customer over B.C.'s mandatory mask policy, after the woman refuses to wear one. – Nov 23, 2020

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.

Read more: No mandatory masks in B.C. schools despite sweeping new COVID-19 orders

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.

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Click to play video 'Kelowna business owner faced with hostile anti-mask customers' Kelowna business owner faced with hostile anti-mask customers
Kelowna business owner faced with hostile anti-mask customers – Nov 22, 2020

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.

Read more: COVID-19: Alberta is the only province without a mask mandate. What is the impact on public perception?

“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.”

Click to play video 'B.C. bus driver frustrated with lack of mask enforcement' B.C. bus driver frustrated with lack of mask enforcement
B.C. bus driver frustrated with lack of mask enforcement – Nov 21, 2020

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.

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The woman was wearing a black and pink coloured jacket and is described as female, approximately 60 years of age, Caucasian with grey hair.

Read more: Dr. Mackie said people supporting anti-health measures rally are ‘rooting for COVID’

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.

Click to play video 'Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announces B.C. mask mandate' Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announces B.C. mask mandate
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announces B.C. mask mandate – Nov 19, 2020

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.

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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.