Victoria-area man arrested, fined twice for refusing to wear a face mask

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A Vancouver Island man has been fined twice by police for refusing to wear a face mask at two separate businesses in the Victoria area on Nov. 30.

West Shore RCMP say they received a call of a man causing a disturbance in the Peninsula Co-op gas station in Langford at around 3:30 in the afternoon. 

Staff say the man had refused a request to wear a mask in the store, and then became belligerent and refused to leave. 

Police say the 40-year-old continued to be uncooperative after officers arrived. He was arrested for causing a disturbance and charged under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act for failing to wear a face covering, which carries a $230 fine.

He was released on the condition he not to attend the gas station. He has a scheduled court appearance.

The following day police became aware of a video posted on social media showing the same man verbally abusing staff and refusing to wear a face mask at a Starbucks in View Royal on the morning of Nov. 30.

In the video the man can be heard arguing with a patient store manager, calling her "rude." 

Starbucks staff did not report the incident to police but after assessing the video, West Shore RCMP reached out to the company and opened an investigation. 

The man was located and issued a second violation ticket for $230.

In a news release, West Shore RCMP call the behaviour "grossly ignorant" and say no employee or member of the public should be subject to verbal abuse or be put at risk by anyone refusing to wear a face covering. 

"Businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone contravening their store policies and in this case, the law. We take these reports seriously and encourage businesses to report these incidents right away so that we can take the appropriate police enforcement action," said Todd Preston, inspector in charge of West Shore RCMP.