The Rutland IGA is located in Willow Park Shopping Centre at 590 BC-33. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)

Customer asked to mask up, throws hot coffee at Rutland IGA employee

The woman grabbed cat food on her way out when she refused to wear a mask

An IGA employee is asking those coming into grocery stores to be kind.

The request comes after the worker had hot coffee thrown at her after she asked a customer to wear a mask as per the provincial health order that was put in place last week.

The employee asked to remain anonymous as the matter is currently under investigation by her employer.

A Kelowna resident who witnessed the incident posted on social media that the event unfolded just after 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at the Rutland IGA.

The employee asked a woman who came into the store without a mask to put one on. The woman refused.

“She grabbed cat food then went towards the door. She hadn’t paid for it, so I asked if she was going to pay for it,” the employee said.

“She said since she can’t wear a mask in store, she’ll just leave. And she did, with the unpaid cat food.”

The employee said she followed the customer and tried to take the cat food back. That was when the woman threw a cup of hot coffee at her, she said. She added she has seen an increase in customers refusing to wear masks and fighting against staff.

“Since IGA required masks a few months ago, we’ve seen people refuse to do it but we backed off since it wasn’t mandated yet,” she said.

“But now that it is, we’re just trying to do our best to follow public health orders.”

The employee said she wants people to know behaviour like this makes it difficult for her and her colleagues to do their jobs safely.

“I don’t like wearing a mask at work but the thing is, we have to keep everybody safe and we want you to be safe, so we’re asking you to wear a mask,” she said.

“I want people to understand that they need to be kind and to realize that everyone is having a hard time and we’re just trying to do our best.”

The matter is now being dealt with at IGA’s head office and they are unable to comment. Rutland IGA manager Roger Anis has said they have reported the incident to the Kelowna RCMP.

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Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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