A Walmart shopper was arrested on Saturday, after police said he pulled out a pair of brass knuckles when he was told to wear a mask or leave the store.
Two anti-mask Costco shoppers have been arrested recently, following clashes with employees.
Workers have been facing harassment and violence from anti-mask customers for months.
This Black Friday, experts say the enforcement of mask policies is crucial to keep workers and customers safe.
Video: Anti-maskers march through a Florida Target
A Walmart customer was arrested on Saturday, after police say he refused to wear a mask -- then pulled out a pair of brass knuckles.
Police were dispatched to a Walmart in Ohio after employees said a customer had refused to put on a mask or leave the store, according to a report from the Perkins Township Police Department. According to the report, police asked the customer, Colyn Tusing, to leave the store if he was not going to wear a mask.
As Tusing walked away from the police officer, he pulled a pair of brass knuckles out of his pocket, according to the report. Tusing was then handcuffed and arrested on the charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Confrontations with anti-mask customers have become a worrisome part of life for many retailer workers in recent months. Going into Black Friday as COVID cases surge, enforcing corporate and government-mandated is an increasingly crucial task for employees.
Perkins Township Police Chief Vince Donald told local news station Fox 8 that police officers do not enforce the state's mask orders, and only get involved if the situation develops into a criminal matter. With Black Friday kicking off the busy holiday shopping season, Donald said he hopes everyone follows health orders.
"If a business asks you to wear a mask, in my opinion, the best thing for you to do is wear the mask and comply with their rules," Donald said.
Anti-mask harassment and violence could present a new Black Friday danger for workers
Restaurant and retail workers have been facing harassment and violence from anti-mask customers for months.
A woman in Canada spat at a liquor store employee and damaged the worker's phone when asked to wear a mask earlier this week, The Penticton Herald reports. In Georgia, Forsyth County News reports that a customer was arrested on Saturday following a clash with employees at Costco over the store's mask policy. Something similar happened last week at a Costco in Eureka, California, when an anti-mask customer was arrested after reportedly trying to snatch a worker's phone.
"There's no reason why I shouldn't be able to shop without a mask on," the Costco customer yells in a video that aired on local news station KRCR.
The treat of anti-mask violence has grown to such a level that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines in August on how companies can keep workers safe. Experts recommend installing security equipment, such as panic buttons, and identifying safe spaces where workers can avoid violent, anti-mask visitors.
The CDC has classified shopping in crowded stores on Black Friday or the surrounding days a "higher-risk activity" in 2020. Experts told Business Insider that wearing masks is crucial to reduce the risks associated with Black Friday shopping this year.
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