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Rossland anti-mask incident prompts police attendance

An incident in Rossland Christmas Eve has RCMP explaining why a Kelowna man was not ticketed for failure to comply with Covid-19 mask requirements.

"On Dec. 31, 2020 at 1 p.m., a front line Trail and Greater District RCMP officer responded to a complaint about a 55-year-old Kelowna man who allegedly declined to wear a mask to cover his nose and mouth when asked by staff after entering a business in Rossland," said Trail top cop RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich. "The business did have the right to refuse service to the man for non-compliance and the man left the store. The man was located and spoken to by a RCMP officer about the incident.

"The man could have been issued a $230 fine under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act; however, an educational approach was used in lieu of enforcement action."

Wicentowich said in a later interview that the man's willingness to leave the business without further incident was a factor in the officer's choice not to issue a ticket.

"He was co-operative in leaving the store," Wicentowich said, adding police can, have and will issue tickets should the situation warrant.

"We fined one person at a Trail grocery store for trespassing, as he refused to leave the property," he said, adding this sort of incident has been few and far between. "There's been a high rate of compliance in this area. I think we can pat ourselves on the back in the Kootenay Boundary. We've done well and we don't have a long way to go.

"The Trail RCMP wish to commend all of those for their commitment to keeping each other safe until the end of the pandemic."