Guelph store clerk coughed at after asking woman to properly wear mask: Police

Police are investigating after a woman allegedly coughed on an employee of a retail store in Guelph after being asked to wear a mask correctly. Masks or face coverings are mandatory in stores in the city.

Masks or face coverings are mandatory in stores under public health order

Masks or face coverings are mandatory in stores in Guelph under a public health order. Police say there have been at least two cases of people coughing at store employees after being told to either wear a mask or wear one properly. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Police in Guelph are investigating after a woman allegedly coughed on a store employee after they asked her to wear her mask properly.

Officers were called to the retail store in the downtown core on Tuesday.

"A male and a female customer entered the store and while both wore masks, the female had her mask pulled down under her chin," police said in a news release. 

An employee approached the couple to help them and asked the female customer to wear her mask correctly. The woman complied, but as the couple approached the checkout counter, a second employee saw the mask was again not being worn correctly. The second employee also asked the woman to wear the mask correctly.

"As the couple left the store, the female customer took her mask off, turned her head and coughed on the first employee," police said.

Police have not named the store, but say it's located in the area of Norfolk Street and Commercial Street. A number of independent businesses are located in the area including Market Fresh, Simply Wonderful Toys and The Stone Store.

Masks or face coverings are mandatory in Guelph stores under an order from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

Businesses must do everything they can to ensure people wear masks. There are exceptions for young children or if a person has health issues that would prevent them from wearing a mask or face covering. Businesses could be ticketed for failing to do so and could face a $5,000 fine per day.

This is the second case of someone allegedly coughing on store staff in Guelph since that order was put into place. An employee at a store in Stone Road Mall was coughed at after they asked a shopper to put on a mask on June 12, police say.

Anyone who witnessed the interaction or who has information about the investigation is asked to contact Const. Cecilia Hudecki at 519-824-1212 ext. 7215 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.