Edmonton server receives 14 stitches after confrontation over mask bylaw

Click to play video: 'Edmonton pub server injured during confrontation over city’s mask bylaw' Edmonton pub server injured during confrontation over city’s mask bylaw
WATCH ABOVE: Crown & Anchor Pub & Grill server Erin Shaw needed 14 stitches after she was smashed in the face with a glass at the north Edmonton pub on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, following an argument she said started over a face mask. WARNING: The video contains violence – Dec 3, 2020

WARNING: Images in this story may be disturbing to some readers.

An Edmonton server needed 14 stitches after she was smashed in the face with a glass at a northside pub over the weekend, following an argument she said started over a face mask.

Edmonton police said they were called to the pub at around 11 p.m. Saturday and are investigating the “violent assault.” Officers continue to investigate and said they are reviewing surveillance footage throughout the area in hopes of identifying the suspect.

The altercation happened at the Crown & Anchor Pub & Grill and was captured on the pub’s surveillance camera. Server Erin Shaw said a female customer came into the pub after 10 p.m. and continued to ask for a drink or a shot.

Shaw said she told the woman she couldn’t serve her, because of restrictions put in place in mid-November that mandate restaurants and pubs to stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.

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Read more: New COVID-19 restrictions announced in Alberta

Shaw said the woman then proceeded to get up from her table more than once, without a mask. As per Edmonton’s bylaw, face coverings or masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces, including restaurants. Patrons are allowed to take off the covering to eat and drink.

“The first time she got up, I told her, I said, ‘You need to wear a mask.’ And she’s like, ‘Well, I don’t have one.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll go grab you one.’ So I grabbed her one, she took it, she sat down,” Shaw explained Thursday.

“She got up again as we were cleaning and she walked halfway across the bar, my co-worker says to her, ‘You need to be wearing a mask.’ She goes, ‘I don’t have one.’ And that’s what I heard as I was coming by and I said, ‘No, you have one. I gave you one. You need to wear the mask.'”

Shaw said the verbal back and forth included vulgar name calling, and eventually escalated to the point where she asked the woman several times to leave. By this time, it was also after close.

“All that we ask is that you wear a mask and that you’re gone by 11 p.m.,” Shaw said.

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“She started then saying that we were racist against her because she was Black,” she continued. “No one mentioned race.”

Shaw said the confrontation then turned physical, with both women pushing each other.

“That’s when she came up and she went for my throat. When her hands touched my throat like this,” she said, grasping her throat with one hand, “I pushed her and said, ‘Do not touch me.’ And I said, ‘Please leave my bar.’

“She had nothing else but a glass in her hand so she took the glass and smashed it over my face. I then grabbed her and threw her to the ground and said, ‘Do not touch me.’ I told her five or six times, ‘Do not touch me’ and she continued to touch me.”

The woman then got up and left the bar. Shaw said at first, she didn’t even realize she was bleeding.

“I knew I got hit in the face, I didn’t really know with what because it took me a minute after to realize it,” she said. “When she finally left I realized I was bleeding and there was a lot of blood everywhere. It was all over the floor.”

Erin Shaw’s lacerations following a confrontation at the Crown & Anchor Pub & Grill in Edmonton on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. Courtesy, Erin Shaw

Shaw said she ended up with three lacerations between her eyes. Physically, she’s doing much better but emotionally, she said her mental health is suffering.

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Shaw said the altercation should never have happened.

“I shouldn’t be abused by following the restrictions that the government is now telling me to put out there and follow and tell my patrons to follow. It shouldn’t have happened,” she said.

“People should just be respectful. Where is our society in being respectful?… The more we follow the restrictions the better we’re going to be. It’s easier to band together and get through this together.”

Read more: More peace officers to enforce COVID-19 restrictions as Alberta records 1,227 new cases

The incident came up during a Facebook live on Thursday night when Premier Jason Kenney was taking questions about the COVID-19 pandemic from Albertans.

“Shame on the person who did that,” he said. “Do not treat your fellow Albertans with disrespect like that.

“If you don’t like the at-work mask mandates, then don’t go to those places. Nobody’s forcing you to go out.”

The premier also empathized with hospitality workers who he said are dealing with a lot of stress trying to manage public health rules.

“I understand some people, for whatever reason, it’s a matter of absolute principle: they won’t wear a mask,” Kenney said. “Well then, don’t go where… you have to wear a mask – alright. You know, the grocery stores, they’ll do… online shopping for you. You can just pick it up, they’ll deliver it to your car.”

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Anyone with information about the assault is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

The fine for breaking Edmonton’s face covering bylaw is $100, and both city police and peace officers can enforce the bylaw.

Local police are asking people who want to report a public health order violation to contact Alberta Health Services. Reports can be made online or by calling 1-833-415-9179.

COVID-19 complaints specific to Edmonton can be made online here. The city said complaints on the face coverings bylaw can be directed to the 311 app or online form.

Only if the situation requires the assistance of police should people call, EPS said earlier this week.

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