COVID-19: Physical altercation arises between Canadian Tire staff and male maskless customer in Burnaby

Burnaby RCMP also provided several examples of health violations in enforcement updates for January

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      An investigation is underway into an altercation that arose after a male customer refused to wear a mask at a store in Burnaby earlier this week.

      According to reports, Burnaby RCMP responded to a call to a Canadian Tire location at 7200 Market Crossing when a man refused to wear a mask inside the store and refused to leave the premises on February 22

      He allegedly assaulted staff members who were attempting to escort him out of the store.

      A video taken by a bystander surfaced online this week that depicts staff attempting to physically subdue the customer in order to place handcuffs on him. At one point, the man, who is shown yelling, swearing, and struggling against their efforts, claims that he can’t breathe due to a staff member’s arm around his neck.

      He is later pinned to the ground.

      However, the video does not capture the physical assaults that the customer allegedly made against staff.

      CTV News reported that investigators returned to the store on February 23 to review surveillance video and conduct interview.

      It’s the latest in a handful of incidents of individuals in B.C. resisting mask-wearing, which is mandatory in public indoor spaces under provincial public health orders, that have resulted in fines or arrests.

      One day before that incident (February 21), RCMP arrested and fined two women (who showed signs of intoxication) a total of $920 in Nanaimo after they yelled, screamed, and were verbally abusive to staff when they refused to wear masks as foot passengers aboard a B.C. Ferries sailing from Horseshoe Bay.

      Nanaimo RCMP decided not to pursue charges after the women became sober and were apologetic. 

      Also in Nanaimo, RCMP reported that yesterday (February 24), a 50-year-old man was stabbed during a fight with a male suspect that developed in a shopping mall parking lot in Nanaimo after the male victim's daughter asked the male suspect to physically distance from them. The vicitm was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The suspect was arrested but released, and is facing a charge of assault with a weapon.

      Last week, a male gym user was reported to have assaulted another man who had asked him to wear a mask at a Downtown Vancouver gym on February 17. Police arrested the male suspect and assault charges are being recommended. 

      Burnaby COVID-19 enforcement update

      Earlier this month, Burnaby RCMP provided a COVID-19 enforcement update for January that details a number of health violation incidents.

      Over the course of the month, Burnaby RCMP responded to a total of 52 complaints and issued three violation tickets, in addition to patrols by City of Burnaby bylaw officers.

      In one case, police received a report about a man, who refused to wear a mask, yelling and refusing to leave a business in the 4400 block of Still Creek Drive on January 7. Officers arrived and issued the man a $230 violation ticket.

      Then on January 9, police received a report about a restaurant in the 4500 block of North Road in Burnaby that was serving liquor after 11 p.m. When officers arrived, they observed several patrons with more than one drink. The owner was fined $2,300 for violating provincial health orders.

      Officers responded to a complaint about a house party in a basement suite (location was unspecified by RCMP) on January 29. Upon arrival, officers found at least 10 people in the suite without any room for physical distancing and no one was wearing masks.

      RCMP stated that the party host allegedly told officers that he “felt comfortable having people over because everyone had washed their hands”. Officers issued him a $2,300 violation ticket. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.