Liquor store employee alleges woman spit on him after refusing to wear mask

RCMP seek alleged spitter

Skaha Lake Liquor Store

UPDATE: 10:20 a.m.

Penticton RCMP are seeking the woman involved in the alleged assault at Skaha Lake Liquor Store after an altercation over wearing a mask. 

Sgt. Jason Bayda said in a news release Monday morning that police "would like to speak" to the woman, who was caught on security camera damaging an employee's cell phone and who the employee alleges spit at him after she refused to wear a mask as provincially mandated. 

"It’s extremely troubling an employee who was only following the provincial health orders, was subject to an assault of this nature,” Bayda said. “Spitting at someone is a concern anytime let alone in the midst of a pandemic.”

Although police have the CCTV images of the woman, they say they would like to first provide her an opportunity to come forward and speak to investigators about the matter.

Penticton RCMP are asking the woman or anyone else who may have information into this matter to call them at 250-492-4300 or to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

ORIGINAL: 4 a.m.

A Penticton employee was left feeling upset after a woman entered the store and allegedly refused to wear a mask, got visibly upset and intentionally dropped the employee's phone.

“It’s just one simple mask,” Rupy Pandher, the owner of the Skaha Lake Liquor Store said. “This lady came to our store, she was not wearing a mask and our employee asked her to put on the mask.”

Pandher said her employee called after the customer kept refusing to comply. 

“She argued with him and while our employee was talking to me regarding the mask issue I told him to refuse service, so that's what he did,” she explained, adding that the employee then passed his cell phone to the customer so she could speak with the owner of the store.

“I also talked to the lady myself. I asked her to leave and then she dropped the phone, made racial comments and spit a few times on our employee," Pandher further alleged.

Pandher said the woman went on that she didn’t have to wear a mask because she 'makes her own laws.' 

“All we ask her is that there’s a government law you have to wear a mask or we cannot serve you.”

On surveillance footage of the incident, the woman is seen dropping the phone to the ground, and the employee rushes to examine it as the woman leaves.

Pandher reported the incident to the RCMP, but the woman was gone by the time they arrived. 

“Some people stay quiet when this happens, they don’t stand up against it. But I don’t think people should be treated like this,” Pandher said.

“As a community we should all get together and we should all take action against people like her. There’s one incident, there might be more.”

“It’s a very good thing that Bonnie Henry has made this decision, but people are not following."

The liquor store shared the surveillance footage on their Facebook page. RCMP have not yet been available for comment on whether they are investigating, and no allegations have been proven in court. 

More Penticton News