Mask standoff leads to arrest in North Okanagan liquor store | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Mask standoff leads to arrest in North Okanagan liquor store

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Alexanders Beach PUB & Liquor Store
February 24, 2021 - 1:08 PM

A man who wouldn't wear a mask and then refused to leave a North Okanagan liquor store was arrested yesterday, and could possibly face criminal charges.

Staff at Alexander's Liquor Store say they called police after the man entered the store not wearing a mask and became belligerent and began yelling at staff members when they asked him to wear one. The RCMP said the man berated staff and then refused to leave the liquor store.

The incident took place at roughly 4:15 p.m. Feb. 23 at the liquor store on the 12000 block of Kalamalka Road in Coldstream.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Const. Chris Terleski said when the RCMP arrived, the man still refused to leave the store. Because the RCMP officer was unable to persuade the man to leave willingly, he was arrested for trespassing and removed from the property.

"Businesses are not public property, they are private property, and owners and staff have a right to refuse service to those who do not abide by the conditions set out in the public health orders. Regardless of our personal opinions and beliefs, we must conduct ourselves in a civil manner and abusive or belligerent behaviour is never the answer and there is no place in our community for it," Terleski said in an email. "We understand everyone has been affected by the ongoing pandemic and the only way through it is to support each other and treat each other with respect and kindness."

Whether the man will be criminally charged is not yet known. Terleski said the investigation is still ongoing and any charge recommendations would be determined at the conclusion.

Since the pandemic began there have been multiple incidents of people being arrested after refusing to leave stores after being told to wear a mask.

In November 2020, a woman was arrested in Value Village in Kelowna after she refused to leave and wouldn't wear a mask.

Weeks later in a Revelstoke restaurant, another woman was fined $460 for not wearing a mask and her abusive and belligerent behaviour.

The issue prompted a south Okanagan gas station owner to ask for public input in dealing with people who refused to wear a mask. He told last November that he encountered about one person an hour refusing to abide by the public health order.

READ MORE: 'Am I doing something wrong?' Okanagan businessman seeks public input on kicking out anti-maskers

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