West Shore RCMP officers have arrested and issued multiple fines to one local resident after he became verbally abusive and uncooperative with store employees over mask policies on two separate occasions.
According to a press release, officers responded to a report of a man causing a disturbance inside the Peninsula Co-op gas station – located at 2320 Millstream Rd. in Langford – at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 30.
Police say the man was refusing to wear a mask while inside the store, which is currently a province-wide mandate due to rising COVID-19 cases.
After the man was asked to leave by store employees, “the male became belligerent with staff prompting them to call police for help,” states the report.
When police arrived, the man was still on scene and officers say he continued to be “uncooperative and belligerent.”
West Shore RCMP proceeded to arrest the 40-year-old area resident for the disturbance and issued him a $230 fine under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act for failing to wear a face-covering.
The police report highlights that, in addition to the fine and arrest, the male was released on an undertaking with conditions to not attend the gas station and is to appear in court for causing a disturbance.
On Dec. 1, the West Shore RCMP say that officers were made aware of a video posted on Facebook, which depicted the same male “being verbally abusive to staff and refusing to wear a face-covering while inside the Starbucks,” which is located at 110-23 Helmcken Rd. in View Royal.
Although Starbucks did not report the incident to police, West Shore RCMP reached out and launched an investigation.
Since then, 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 Const. Nancy Saggar, media spokesperson with the West Shore RCMP.
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. 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, said Todd Preston, inspector in charge of West Shore RCMP.
Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued the mask mandate during a press conference on Nov. 19.