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Police make mask-less shopper leave Geneva store

Mask-less customer 'refused and was shouting insults at her and other employees'

Geneva police were called to Ace Hardware Aug. 14 for a shopper who would not wear a mask and refused to leave.
Geneva police were called to Ace Hardware Aug. 14 for a shopper who would not wear a mask and refused to leave.

GENEVA – A store manager at Ace Hardware, 617 W. State St., Geneva, called police because a shopper who refused to wear would not leave the store, according to a police report released after a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to the report, police were called about 11 a.m. on Aug. 14 to remove the shopper.

The Chronicle is not naming the shopper because he was not charged.

The store operations manager told police that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is the store’s policy to that everyone who enters must have a face covering in order to do business.

The customer “refused and was shouting insults at her and other employees,” the report stated.

In speaking with the shopper, police asked him his intentions, “and he stated he was not leaving until he is ‘trespassed,’” the report stated.

As a manager, she was authorized to to issue trespass warnings and she did, so police informed the shopper he was no longer welcome at the Ace Hardware and that he had to leave the property, the report stated.

He left without further incident.

This was the second time the same shopper came that Ace Hardware and the general manager had to call police because he would not wear a mask, nor would he leave the store, the report stated.

Police were there two days earlier on Aug.12 to make him leave, but no trespass warning was issued at that time, the report stated.

The verbal warning is enough to warrant a criminal charge if he comes back, the report stated.

The operations manager for the store spoke about the incident, but would not give her name.

“He would not leave," the operations manager said. "I would not have called police if he hadn’t told me specifically that he was not going to be leaving the store. I wasn’t going to have that.”

She said the customer told her he does not believe the COVID-19 virus is real, that it’s politics.

Then he said he had a medical condition and could not wear a mask, she said.

“He did not state he had it (a medical condition) until cops were about to walk in the door. He looked at me and stated he had a medical condition," she said. "That is convenient.”

The operations manager said Ace offers curbside pickup for customers who can’t wear masks or who don’t feel comfortable shopping inside a store.

And this customer was not the first to refuse to wear a mask, she said.

“There have been a handful or two who have had a fit,” she said. “We enforce it (the mask requirement) because we want to keep customers and employees safe. That is why we have curbside pickup. … Give us a phone call and we will take care of you 100% from the curb outside.”

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