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Kelowna, B.C., woman arrested after COVID-19 mask dispute at Value Village

Click to play video 'Kelowna business owner faced with hostile anti-mask customers' Kelowna business owner faced with hostile anti-mask customers
B.C. businesses are on the front lines of enforcing the province's mask mandate for indoor public spaces. Sometimes that's proving to be a challenge. A Kelowna café owner says she had to deal with a confrontational group of anti-mask patrons this weekend. – Nov 22, 2020

A 41-year-old Kelowna, B.C., woman was arrested on Sunday after she refused to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a Value Village store.

Mounties responded to a complaint of trespass and causing a disturbance at the business in the 100-block of Aurora Crescent just after 4 p.m.

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

“Frontline officers attended the location but despite numerous efforts by officers, the woman refused to leave the store,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy on Monday.

She was taken into custody for allegedly causing a disturbance and obstructing a police officer.

Click to play video 'No mandatory masks in B.C. schools despite sweeping new COVID-19 orders' No mandatory masks in B.C. schools despite sweeping new COVID-19 orders
No mandatory masks in B.C. schools despite sweeping new COVID-19 orders – Nov 20, 2020

During the arrest, the woman allegedly struck the officers several times, screamed, and refused to cooperate, police said.

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She was later released on conditions for a future court date.

Read more: Kelowna, B.C., business owner berated by anti-maskers while holding baby

The matter will be referred to the BC Prosecution Service for review, police said.

The RCMP said its focus remains on educating and encouraging people to follow public health orders and recommendations.

Click to play video 'Reaction to B.C.’s sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions' Reaction to B.C.’s sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions
Reaction to B.C.’s sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions – Nov 20, 2020

Last Thursday, B.C.’s provincial health officer ordered that masks be worn in all indoor, public places, as one of many new restrictions in a bid to slow the second wave.

Businesses are responsible for asking patrons to wear face coverings or non-medical masks and must refuse service for non-compliance, police said.

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It’s the fourth anti-mask confrontation being investigated by police in the Okanagan over the weekend, including incidents at the Orchard Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna, a coffee shop in Kelowna, and a liquor store in Penticton.

Read more: Kelowna, B.C., business owner berated by anti-maskers while holding baby

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B.C. bus driver frustrated with lack of mask enforcement – Nov 21, 2020

Also on Monday, B.C. health officials reported 1,933 new cases of COVID-19 over three days and 17 deaths. Hospitalizations reached a record high of 277, an increase of 50 from Friday.

-With files from John Azpiri 

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