An anti-masker who claimed he was exempt from wearing a face mask, was arrested by Edmonton Police at a Costco in mid-November. A video posted to YouTube on Nov.17 shows an Edmonton Police Officer speaking and arresting a man not wearing a mask near the entrance of a Costco Wholesale store.
“I’m complying with all federal, provincial,” said the anti-masker.
“Except you’re not wearing a mask,” responds the officer.
The city of Edmonton installed a bylaw in August that requires masks to be worn in all indoor public spaces, and businesses have the authority to eject shoppers for not following rules. In the video posted to YouTube, the anti-masker argues with the officer that he told Costco employees he had a medical exemption from wearing a mask, but failed to understand that a business still has the right of refusal.
“I’m complying with the bylaw itself, and I’m exempt, I give them my exemption and they refuse to issue access,” says the man.
Eventually, the officer interrupts the man and asks him to confirm if he knew that Costco employees had asked the man to leave and informed him that he was trespassing if he stayed on their property.
“They have the right to ask you to leave for not wearing a mask. You understand? So, you need to leave otherwise you’ll be arrested for trespassing,” said the officer.
The man then acknowledges that he understood the law and consequences of being on the property, and verbally told the officer he was not going to leave and wanted to be arrested.
The officer then grabs the man, and turns him, putting his hands behind his back, but the man doesn’t comply and falls to the ground instead and eventually the officer places handcuffs on him. Once on the ground and in handcuffs, the anti-masker claims he’s going to report the incident to the Human Rights Tribunal, and eventually the officer responds.
“Do you understand what’s going on right now with this plague? Do you understand what’s going on? Do you understand how many people are dying? So, do you not believe this is a problem right now? You don’t believe that this is going on,” said the officer.
After the two men continue to argue, the anti-masker continues to argue that he is exempt from wearing a face mask and he doesn’t want to give in to what others are doing.
“They want to dress me up like a clown,” he said.
Eventually, the officer’s partner arrives and the two men carry the anti-masker out of the store after he refuses to walk.
Costco has had a face mask policy in effect since May 2020, but allowed members who had exemptions to shop without consequences. As of Nov.16, following the Edmonton incident, the company seems to have adopted a policy that anyone with an exemption would need to wear at least a face shield to shop at Costco, with children under the age of 2 being exempt.
“This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. Our goal is to continue to provide a safe shopping environment for our members and guests, and to provide a safe work environment for our employees,” wrote Craig Jelinek, President and CEO, Costco Wholesale in a statement.