Woman Hits McDonald’s Employee in Face in Vaccine Passport Dispute: Police

The customer reportedly sat down in the dining area and refused to put on a mask or provide proof of vaccination.
September 27, 2021, 6:07pm
McDonald's logo
Police were called to a "disturbance" at a McDonald's in Hamilton, Ontario, last week after a man and woman started arguing with staff about vaccine passports. Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An anti-masker hit a McDonald’s employee in the face on the day vaccine passports were implemented last week in Ontario, according to police.

Const. Indy Bharaj said police were called to a “disturbance” at McDonald’s inside Walmart in Hamilton, about 70 km west of Toronto, around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday after a man and woman started arguing with restaurant staff about vaccine passports. 

The woman, described as being 25-30 years old with a medium build and blond, shoulder-length hair, reportedly sat down in the dining area and refused to put on a mask or provide proof of vaccination.

Launched that day, Ontario’s vaccine passport system requires people to show proof of double vaccination to enter businesses including restaurants, bars, gyms, theatres, and sports venues.

Bharaj said officers were on their way to the restaurant when they were told the woman had hit an employee in the face and left. 

Advertisement

Police are now asking for help identifying the woman, who they say is about 5’7” tall and was wearing black pants and a black jacket at the time of the incident. Bharaj said police are also interested in speaking with the man who was with her, though he was not involved in the attack.

Paramedics were not called to the scene.

Service industry workers have been taking the brunt of violence from anti-maskers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers, already doing busy jobs for typically low wages, have been tasked with enforcing public health measures, often with no pay increase or added security. 

Last week, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce COO Marie Nash told CBC local businesses were bracing for the impact the vaccine passport mandate would have on front-line workers, particularly in dealing with angry customers. The chamber plans to hold a webinar Tuesday to help local businesses deal with the change.

Earlier this month, a 49-year-old man man fatally shot a 20-year-old gas station attendant in Germany after an argument about wearing a mask. Local media said the man went into the store unmasked to buy beer but was refused service, as per the store’s mask policy. Police said CCTV footage showed the customer returning two hours later with a mask that did not cover his nose, pulling a revolver out of his pocket, and shooting the employee. 

A New York City grocery store worker was hospitalized in July after two men in their 30s refusing to wear masks went on a rampage in a Trader Joe’s, ripping a mask off one employee’s face and hitting another with a wooden paddle, causing him to bleed from the head.

Other attacks have happened across Canada as well. In March, a man refusing to wear a mask at a convenience store in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, attacked a pregnant woman working at the store, allegedly hitting her on the head and pushing her into a wall. A month earlier, a 13-year-old boy allegedly stabbed a convenience store clerk in Winnipeg, Manitoba, after being told to put on a mask. Two people were charged with assault in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, last winter after a video circulated that appeared to show a man sitting on a Walmart employee, repeatedly punching and kneeing the victim. 

Some anti-mask activists have gained large followings online after posting videos of themselves, often accompanied by large groups, berating and harassing young retail workers.

McDonald’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Follow Kevin Maimann on Twitter.