Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Senior has run-in with anti-mask protesters at B.C. mall

Anti-maskers in Kelowna
Anti-mask protesters near Kelowna's Orchard Park Mall on Nov. 21, 2020. (via Diane Cabral)

A B.C. senior got the last word in when she had a run-in with a large group of anti-mask protesters in Kelowna's Orchard Park Mall Saturday (Nov. 21).

After a provincial health order was issued Thursday (Nov. 19), mandating face masks in all public and retail spaces in the province, a group of people opposed to the new order made their thoughts known around Kelowna on Saturday; the group has been meeting for several months to protest the province's measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Dozens waved signs in protest of the new measures on the side of Highway 97 near Abbot Street Saturday morning, after first meeting in Stuart Park. 

Later, a group of 50 to 70 mask-less people made their way through Orchard Park Mall around 3 p.m., protesting the new mask mandate. It's not clear if this was the same group of people who were downtown.

Linda Coyle, a 70-year-old Summerland resident, was shopping at the mall when one of the men in the group bumped into her.

“He bent right down and said 'This is what a normal person looks like,' and then I just said 'Well, it looks like a stupid person to me,'” said Coyle, a five-foot-tall senior. 

She had hoped there would have been some enforcement of the mask mandate at the mall, by security or police, but she didn't see anyone telling them to leave.

“The lady in a store, the salesperson, said they called security and they said there's nothing they can do,” Coyle said.

Glacier Media has reached out to Orchard Park Mall about the incident, but was told a response should not be expected until today (Nov. 23).

“They were being so disrespectful. Everybody was keeping their distance and we were all wearing masks, and then for this group to come through there, I just thought it was total disrespect,” she said. “They just really wanted to make people uncomfortable, which they did.

“Just picking me out as a senior, to bend down and do that, I think it's a really cowardly act ... I was a little angry when I got home.”

The incident occurred around the same time three men refused to wear a mask inside Kelowna's Bean Scene North coffee shop on Ellis Street, prompting staff to call police.

Meanwhile, protesters on Highway 97 could be heard chanting "No more masks," "F*** Joe Biden," and "Democracy!"

One protester held a sign with Dr. Henry's face along with the words "Lock her up," echoing Donald Trump's attacks on Hillary Clinton during 2016 United States election. 

Meanwhile, 32 British Columbians died from COVID-19 last week alone, as case numbers continue to skyrocket across the province.