Like most people these days, Jean-ann Robinson and Monika Czerveniak are doing their best to keep a safe distance from others. So when they see people not following the rules, it makes them angry.

“We have to think what we’re doing, we’re not alone in this world but if we keep it up we might be,” said Czerveniak.

The Victoria couple, in their early 70s, were sitting in front of a Cook Street coffee shop last Friday when they say a young man purposefully walked right in front of a woman practicing social distancing in a lineup outside. After witnessing the confrontation Czerveniak decided to snap a photo.

“He just came out of the shop and I took a picture and he said what are you taking this picture for? I said because I might put it on Facebook to shame you,” she said.

It didn’t go over well. They say the man tried to wrestle the phone out of Czerveniak’s hands, putting her in a headlock, while a girl he was with got her on the ground.

“I was lying right here on the floor, she sat on me, pinned my arms behind me and she yelled at me and spat at me,” said Czerveniak.

Once Robinson stepped in she says she became the target.

“Once I picked up the phone, he came up to me and deliberately open mouth coughed right into my face,” Robinson said.

Czerveniak ran inside the shop and told them to call police. Victoria police say they have identified the suspects and are still investigating.

The attack came on the same day B.C.’s provincial health officer issued a warning to young people not taking social distancing seriously.

“Young people feel like they’re immune to this,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry. “So I would encourage people to use social media, to call people out, to say this is what we need to do now.

Since that day many popular public areas have shut down because people weren’t following social distance orders, and signs have been erected around the city reminding people to keep two metres apart.

Czerveniak and Robinson say despite what they’ve been through, they will continue to remind anyone who isn’t listening but they hope, by now, everyone is.

“Let’s look after each other, let’s be kind, we’re all in this together,” said Robinson.

April Lawrence