Despite Republicans' and Donald Trump’s recent attempts to soften the political discourse around masks, people continue strolling into grocery stores, where trillions of consumers purchase food, without masks, a medically-proven combatant against COVID-19.
In this vein, a Ralphs store out of Los Angeles made headlines last week following an incident on July 15 where an unmasked man decided to ram his cart into an employee after she asked the man to wear a mask or leave the store. In response to the man’s violence, the employee pepper-sprayed him and called police.
"I was just coming down to the end of an aisle and all of a sudden I heard some commotion and people were getting in the aisle," a witness told CBS. "I looked down there and there was this guy just yelling at someone, and then all of a sudden you see him, you know, take the handles of his cart and just try to ram this woman.".
"I think he was just screaming about the mask," the witness continued. "He didn't want to wear a mask."
This week, the store announced its decision to suspend the employee for five days. “The associate was suspended for five days for not following company guidelines on responding to customers not wearing a face covering and not following de-escalation procedures, which could have prevented the incident,” a company spokesman told local news.
Witnesses defended the employee, saying she acted in self-defense. Footage following the altercation shows the man on the floor covered in milk, presumably used to soothe his burning eyes.
In California, residents are required to wear a mask whenever social distancing is not possible. As CBS reports, Ralphs is now requiring all customers wear masks in stores nationwide.
Please wear a mask. If you're concerned about your personal fashion statement while wearing one, we've got you covered.