A video of an unmasked family refusing to leave Grocery Outlet in Spokane Valley has racked up over 30,000 views and sparked Facebook organizers to plan an “Unmasked Shopping Event” at the store.
After an employee asked Aubree Stone’s family to leave the store, Stone began filming, saying “You’re harassing me.”
“I cannot believe you have the gall and the nerve to try to make somebody do something outside of their own will,” Stone said.
“It is a private business, would you like to see the law?” the employee said.
Stone said she would.
Under federal anti-discrimination laws, businesses can refuse service to any person for any reason, unless the business is discriminating against a protected class, such as race, nationality or disability. These are the same laws that allow businesses to post signs reading, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.”
Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman, in response to climbing COVID-19 numbers, announced a statewide mandatory face covering order that took effect June 26. The order makes a refusal to wear a mask in public spaces a misdemeanor offense.
Inslee announced Thursday another statewide order that will bar businesses from serving customers who don’t wear facial coverings. That order takes effect next week.
But many in Spokane are upset by the orders. A group called Citizens United for Reopening the Economy, or CURE, which has 139 page likes on Facebook, organized the “Unmasked Shopping Event” at Grocery Outlet Friday.
“We need to send a message to Grocery Outlet that this behavior is unacceptable. This particular manager is treating people very badly,” the event organizers wrote. “Let’s show up and say it’s not OK! Let’s stand up for our rights!”
According to the Facebook event page, 196 people were interested in attending and 36 went.
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