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Maskless man spits and coughs at employees of Kelowna liquor store

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A man who refused to wear a mask inside a Kelowna liquor store spat and coughed at employees after he was denied service earlier this week.

Surveillance video provided by Urban Bar Liquor Store shows the man being asked to put a mask on after entering, but he refused.

"When offered a mask, he said, ‘You're going to have to take my vaccines out of my arm,’" said store owner Riki-Lynn Boettcher.

Masks have been mandatory in indoor public spaces in Kelowna and surrounding areas since the end of July due to rising COVID-19 transmission rates.

Boettcher says the man was repeatedly asked by staff – and even confronted by other customers – to follow the rules.

“It just escalated from there,” said Boettcher. “One of my staff members said that she was going to refuse him service.”

The video shows the man then opening his mouth up wide and coughing several times in the direction of employees. Boettcher says he also spat in their direction while exiting the building.

The outside cameras then captured the man standing outside his car, rubbing his groin area and flipping his middle finger towards another customer who was filming him.

Boettcher didn’t report the incident to police, but wanted to share the video to raise awareness and push back against those harassing industry workers.

“We don’t accept that behaviour, we don’t condone it, and we don’t want to put up with it,” Boettcher said.

With the Central Okanagan region currently B.C.’s main COVID-19 hotspot, health officials put more restrictions in place Friday, leaving Boettcher’s staff to deal with more disgruntled customers. 

“To have to be at the front line of that, to try and enforce it, is definitely challenging,” Boettcher said. 

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