Mask mayhem came to Trail on the weekend when police were called to two businesses on two separate occasions because patrons refused to put on a face covering.
The first instance was on Saturday, Oct. 31 shortly after 1:30 p.m.
“The Trail and Greater District RCMP attended a business in downtown Trail, in response to a call of a patron refusing to wear a mask on the premise,” Sgt. Mike Wicentowich explained.
A Pass Creek man, 42, had entered the business and declined to wear a face covering as required by store policy under the Emergency Programs Act (EPA).
“The man began to cause a disturbance inside the business when spoken to by the owner, who eventually escorted the man outside,” Wicentowich said. “Trail RCMP (carried out) an investigation into causing a disturbance in a public place.”
The situation ended with the owner banning the man from returning to the business in the future.
Three hours later, police again attended a business in downtown Trail, in response to another call of a man refusing to wear a mask on the premises.
In this case, a 59-year-old Grand Forks man had allegedly entered the business and declined to wear a face covering or non-medical mask over his mouth and nose as required by store policy, in conjunction with the EPA.
“The man refused to leave the business when asked by the owner,” Wicentowich said.
“As such, the Trail RCMP detained the man for trespassing on the premises and escorted him off the property.”
He was released and issued a $115 fine for failing to leave a premises or stop prohibited activity contrary to a section in the Trespass Act.
Of note, earlier in the day an anti-mask protest occurred on the corner of Bay Avenue and Victoria Street in downtown Trail.
Police say that demonstration was peaceful and without incident.
Businesses have the right to ask their customers to wear face coverings or non-medical masks while on premises in the absence of the ability to socially distance, and they have the right to refuse service for non-compliance, Wicentowich added.
“Clients have the right not to attend the business if they decide not to wear a protective mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Additionally, a $230 fine can be issued for Fail to Comply with Patron Distancing Conditions contrary to Section 7(1) of the Emergency Programs Act.
Other fines under the EPA may also apply.
The Trail RCMP notes that these types of minor preventable incidents take up valuable police time and resources which could be better used elsewhere.