A man thwarting COVID-19 regulations and taking out his anger on staff at two businesses has been arrested and fined for his behaviour.
In an emailed statement to Victoria Buzz, West Shore RCMP spokesperson Cst. Nancy Saggar confirmed that a 40-year-old man was arrested and charged under the COVID Act on Monday, November 30.
Staff at the Peninsula Co-op on Millstream Rd called police at around 3:30 p.m. on Monday after the man reportedly refused to wear a mask or leave the store, and became belligerent with employees.
Saggar says when police arrived, they arrested him and charged him for not wearing a mask under the COVID Act. He was later released on an undertaking to attend court for the charge of causing a disturbance.
That wasn’t the man’s first hostile encounter of the day.
A video that has since gone viral on social media shows the same individual at a Starbucks in Eagle Creek ranting at a manager for asking him to stay within physical distancing squares.
“I don’t stand where people tell me. I keep my distance and that is the law,” the man, who was not wearing a mask, is heard saying in the video.
“You can’t tell someone where someone [can] stand on private properly,” he goes on, after the employee tells him they are following provincial regulations.
The video was posted on Facebook by James Whitney at about 12:30 p.m. on November 30.
Saggar says employees at the Starbucks in which the incident took place did not alert police to the incident, but officers were made aware of it after Whitney’s video went viral on social media.
“We have since reached out to Starbucks and started an investigation into this,” said Saggar.
“I can confirm the male from this video is the same male that was arrested at Co-Op gas station our officers are currently following up on this second incident.”
Shortly after our publication, West Shore RCMP confirmed the man was issued a second ticket under the Covid-19 Related Measures Act for failing to wear a face covering for the incident at the Starbucks.
“We have located the male and issued him another ticket under the Covid-19 Related Measures Act for failing to wear a face covering,” said Saggar.
As of the time of publication, the video has been shared over 2,000 times. Take a look:
“The Covid-19 pandemic is a major health concern. No employee or member of the public should be subject to verbal abuse or be put at-risk by anyone refusing to wear a face covering,” said Todd Preston, inspector in charge of West Shore RCMP.
“This type of belligerent and grossly ignorant behaviour is unacceptable. Businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone contravening their store policies and in this case the law. We take these reports seriously and encourage businesses to report these incidents right away so that we can take the appropriate police enforcement action,” added Preston.