Kitchener-Waterloo

1 man charged after refusing to wear a mask in a Waterloo store: WRPS

Waterloo regional police were called to nine separate confrontations related to the region's new mask bylaw in the first week it was in effect.

Police responded to nine confrontations related to region's new mask bylaw

In the first week of the region's new mask bylaw, Waterloo regional police officers were called to nine different confrontations. In one case, a 78-year-old man was charged. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A 78-year-old man has been charged after he refused to wear a mask in a Waterloo store and threatened staff, police say.

Police were called to a business on King Street N. in Waterloo on July 17.

"The business provided the male with a mask, which he refused to wear. During the incident, the male became agitated and began making threats towards staff," police said in an email to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

The man was charged with one count each of failing to leave a premises when directed under the Trespass to Property Act and uttering threats to cause bodily harm or death. 

The incident is one of nine separate calls the Waterloo Regional Police Service has responded to of confrontations over masks or face coverings since the region's mask bylaw came into effect on July 13, four of which took place this past Monday.

The other confrontations did not involve charges, although one case saw a male ordered not to return to a Kitchener business. 

Other confrontations

Other incidents officers were called to in the first week of the bylaw are:

July 14 at 2:45 p.m., police were called to a business on King Street E. in Kitchener for reports a family refused to leave a store after being asked to wear a mask. Officers went to the store but the family had left by the time they arrived.

July 15 at 1:30 p.m., officers went to a business on Duke Street W. in Kitchener after a man refused to leave a store after he was asked to wear a mask. The man left before police arrived.

July 18 at 3:25 p.m., police went to a business on Farmers Market Road in Woolwich Township after two people were involved in a verbal argument over one of them not wearing a mask. The business asked a man to leave and he was gone before officers arrived.

July 19 at 1:20 p.m., police responded to a report of a threat in the area of Victoria Street N. in Kitchener. "The complainant advised that an unknown male threatened him surrounding the use of a mask," police said. The unknown man was gone before officers arrived. An investigation into this case is ongoing.

July 20 at 8:15 a.m., police were called to a King Street E. business in Kitchener after a male refused to wear a mask and "became agitated." He had left the business before officers arrived.

July 20 at 12:15 p.m., police responded to a call to an address on Maryhill Road in Woolwich Township. "The male became intimidating towards staff when they requested him to follow proper protocol.  The male was spoken to by police and advised to follow the new bylaw protocol," police said.

July 20 at 12:52 p.m., officers were called to a Weber Street E. business in Kitchener where a man "became confrontational towards staff when they requested him to follow proper protocol." The man was spoken to by the officers and trespassed from the business, meaning he cannot return there.

July 20 at 4 p.m., officers went to a business on King Street N. in Waterloo for a dispute between two people that stemmed from one of them not wearing a mask. Officers spoke with both people.

'Really good compliance'

Region of Waterloo officials said earlier this week that it appeared most people were abiding by the mask bylaw.

Bethany Rowland, a communications officer for the region, said bylaw officials reported "really good compliance."

Bylaw offices in the region have received 438 questions and complaints since July 6, she said. Of those, 65 were complaints about people not following the bylaw.

The bylaw asks anyone who can wear a mask to do so. The exceptions include young children and people with health conditions that make it hard for them to wear a mask. There is no requirement for people to prove they have a health condition. 

The bylaw will end on Sept. 30 unless extended by regional council.

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