*Editor’s note: The Creston Valley Advance has agreed to use a pseudonym to protect the security guard’s privacy and identity.
One of the security guards who was hired to enforce the provincial mask mandate at Pealow’s Your Independent Grocer in Creston was allegedly assaulted twice on Dec. 1 by two different customers who refused to abide by the rules.
“A lady pushed a cart into me and slammed the cart into my leg,” said John.* “Later in the afternoon, a gentleman did not want to comply with the mask mandate or social distancing mandate, and slammed his cart into my hand and wrist — tore my thumbnail right off.”
According to John, the woman evaded the store before police arrived, while the man was issued a $260 fine by Creston RCMP and was also banned from Pealow’s for life.
“They felt that they had the right and privilege to assault me and call me filthy names for trying to enforce the provincial mandate,” said John. “It comes down to people needing to read their Charter of Rights, understand it because a mask is not a violation of your Charter of Rights.”
As noted by Staff Sgt. Ryan Currie of the Creston RCMP, there is no violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the BC Human Rights Code when a store owner bars entry to someone who won’t wear a mask.
“… It is not a violation of anyone’s human rights for a store to refuse service to someone who refuses to wear a mask. Businesses are not public places,” said Currie. “Stores are private property, with an invitation to the public to enter and shop according to the conditions set by the stores (and as required by COVID-19 masking orders).”
John said that customers have been complying with the mask mandate for the most part, but noted that he receives nasty comments from shoppers two or three times a day.
“But that’s ok because it happens about one in 300 customers. If I can stop the abuse towards employees here — I’d rather be the one to be yelled at and screamed at, not the young ladies here who are trying to do their job,” he said.
Pealow’s brought in security guards shortly after the mask mandate was announced. There are three guards in rotation, who are on-site from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days of the week.
“We hired them more of an educational piece, to educate people coming in so that they know that the order is the law,” said Brian Pealow, the owner of Pealow’s.
Pealow noted that he isn’t here to play politics or police and that he just wants to continue to provide service to the community.
“Hopefully we can all get through this and everyone stays safe,” said Pealow. “As long as we all adapt, we’ll get through this sooner than we think.”
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