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Woman refusing to wear mask arrested at a B.C. thrift store

A woman being removed from Kelowna's Value Village after allegedly refusing to wear a mask or leave on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Photo: @Jules50278750/Twitter

A B.C. woman was arrested this past weekend after allegedly refusing to put on a mask or leave a store. 

Police were called to the Value Village in Kelowna just after 4 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 22) for a report of a woman who was trespassing as she refused to leave the store after entering without a mask.

Officers tried to convince her to leave the store, but she refused, according to RCMP, who allege the woman struck the officers several times, screamed and refused to cooperate.

The woman was arrested and released on conditions for a future court date. Charges of causing a disturbance and obstructing a police officer have been referred to the BC Prosecution Service for review.

Public health order calls for mandatory mask-wearing

“The RCMP's focus remains on educating and encouraging members of the public who may not be following the safety measures set out by public health authorities,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy. 

“Kelowna RCMP note that businesses have the responsibility due to the recent public health order to ask their patrons to wear face coverings or non-medical masks while on premises and to refuse service for non-compliance. Individuals have the right not to attend the business if they decide not to wear a protective mask to help prevent the spread COVID-19. We highly encourage everyone to respect provincial health orders for their safety and the safety of others,” Noseworthy continued. 

Cpl. Noseworthy said Kelowna RCMP officers have responded to several similar complaints in recent weeks.

Store management deferred comment to corporate headquarters, which has not responded to emails from Castanet. A video of the woman being escorted out of the Value Village was posted on Twitter, but has since been removed.