A customer sanitizes their hands upon entry into Pealow’s Your Independent Grocer in Creston. Photo: Aaron Hemens

A customer sanitizes their hands upon entry into Pealow’s Your Independent Grocer in Creston. Photo: Aaron Hemens

Creston security guard allegedly assaulted twice in a day over mask mandate

The security guard said that he lost his thumbnail after a cart was slammed into his hands

*Editor’s note: The Creston Valley Advance has agreed to use a pseudonym to protect the security guard’s privacy and identity.

One of the security guards who was hired to enforce the provincial mask mandate at a grocery store in Creston was allegedly assaulted twice on Dec. 1 by two different customers who refused to abide by the rules.

“A lady pushed a cart into me and slammed the cart into my leg,” said John.* “Later in the afternoon, a gentleman did not want to comply with the mask mandate or social distancing mandate, and slammed his cart into my hand and wrist — tore my thumbnail right off.”

According to John, the woman left the store before police arrived, while the man was issued a $260 fine by Creston RCMP.

“They felt that they had the right and privilege to assault me and call me filthy names for trying to enforce the provincial mandate,” said John. “It comes down to people needing to read their Charter of Rights, understand it because a mask is not a violation of your Charter of Rights.”

As noted by Staff Sgt. Ryan Currie of the Creston RCMP, there is no violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the BC Human Rights Code when a store owner bars entry to someone who won’t wear a mask.

“… It is not a violation of anyone’s human rights for a store to refuse service to someone who refuses to wear a mask. Businesses are not public places,” said Currie. “Stores are private property, with an invitation to the public to enter and shop according to the conditions set by the stores (and as required by COVID-19 masking orders).”

John said that customers have been complying with the mask mandate for the most part, but noted that he receives nasty comments from shoppers two or three times a day.

“But that’s ok because it happens about one in 300 customers. If I can stop the abuse towards employees here — I’d rather be the one to be yelled at and screamed at, not the young ladies here who are trying to do their job,” he said.

UPDATE: An earlier version of the article included the name of the grocery store where the assaults took place. After speaking with the grocery store’s manager, the Advance has agreed to remove the name from the article to prevent any assaults or incidents from occurring in the future.

READ MORE: Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

READ MORE: Creston RCMP addresses growing violence over provincial health order

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca


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