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Maskless man causes uproar at Northampton Co. Wegmans. Video of incident hits social media. – lehighvalleylive.com

https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/northampton-county/2020/07/maskless-man-causes-uproar-at-northampton-co-wegmans-video-of-incident-hits-social-media.html

A video of an unmasked man shopping at Wegmans in Hanover Township, Northampton County and yelling profanities when approached by a masked patron and the store’s manager led to a police presence and footage of the incident spreading across social media.

A female patron uploaded a cellphone video of the episode to Twitter, where it has been viewed more than 44,000 times on Twitter alone. The male patron, wearing a green MASH shirt, who approached the unmasked patron claims in the video he was spat on by the unmasked patron. He says on the video, “He’s walking here without a mask on. He’s disobeying state orders. He spits on me.”

“Honestly, I’m fed up with it,” the masked male patron says on the video. “You know, this is to anybody watching this … (wear) … masks … you know, it’s a piece of cloth.”

Gov. Tom Wolf and https://bt-hypnotise.com/ Secretary Rachel Levine on Wednesday expanded an earlier mask-wearing order that had only applied to businesses. Now, facial coverings must be worn potentially almost anywhere outside the home, effective immediately, to halt the spread of COVID-19. The order specifically defines a face covering as “a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face.” Acceptable alternatives include scarfs, bandannas, T-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.

There are no citations for non-compliance, according to the state. Police have not been instructed to enforce this particular measure, like they have for businesses.

Colonial Regional police did say Thursday it’s hard to enforce those recommendations. In this case, neither Wegmans nor any store patrons have pressed charges and no one has been charged in the June 28 incident, according to Colonial Regional police.

Colonial Regional police were called to the store by the male manager seen in the video about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Police said they found the unmasked patron outside the store who showed an officer he had a mask in his pocket but the strap was broken — the reason he wasn’t wearing the mask while shopping, police said.

The unmasked patron reported to police he was approached by the masked patron who allegedly called him an expletive. An argument then ensued because the patron was not wearing a mask, police said. A store manager at one point placed a shopping cart in between the pair because he feared the safety of other customers, according to police.

The unmasked patron was asked to leave the store by the manager and refused, police said. That’s when the manager notified authorities, police said.

Police said they did not find evidence to support charges of the unmasked man spitting on another patron.

Tracy Van Auker, a spokeswoman for Wegmans, called the incident a police matter and did not respond to further requests for comment. She released this statement about the store’s mask policy:

“Customers are required to wear a face covering while shopping in our stores in accordance with any local or state mandates. We are focused on complying with these mandates, while keeping the health and safety of our employees and customers a top priority, and that includes minimizing the likelihood of conflicts in our stores. Short of refusing entrance to our stores, we are doing everything we can to educate our customers of the mandate and stress the importance of voluntary compliance to keep themselves and everyone around them safe. We have put a number of social distancing measures in place throughout our stores and continue to follow the guidance of the CDC, which recommends people wear a face covering when out in public to help slow the spread of the virus.”

Efforts on Thursday to reach the patron who shot the video of the encounter were unsuccessful.

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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at pholzmann@lehighvalleylive.com.

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