As if there wasn’t enough to worry about already in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak when venturing out to shop for groceries, a Massachusetts man decided to allegedly cough and spit on some produce.
On a more encouraging note, shoppers inside the Stop and Shop in Kingston drew a line and subdued the 65 year-old-man.
An intense video of several customers forcible holding the man down in the aisle of the grocery store was shared online.
A 65-year old Duxbury man was subdued by customers inside a Stop and Shop in Kingston on Saturday after he was seen coughing and spitting on produce inside the supermarket.
He was taken to a hospital out of caution and could face criminal charges.
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) April 6, 2020
The incident reportedly took place on Saturday, April 4, and while there was no clear indication that the suspect was infected with COVID-19, he was transported to a local hospital after being taken into custody by police.
The Kingston Police Department said in a post on its official Facebook page the man could face the following criminal charges: “Assault & Battery w/ Dangerous Weapon (shod foot), Assault and Battery, Destruction of Property (produce).”
The Kingston Police responded to Stop & Shop located at 160 Summer Street shortly before noon on…
Intended joke or not, shopper Kyle Mann, who took the video above, told Boston 25 News the man’s actions were “terrifying.”
“Especially with the CDC now recommending everyone wear face masks, someone doing this makes people more uncomfortable for people to leave their house to get necessary items, and it’s honestly disgraceful,” the 18-year-old said.
Mann said he was concerned about the health of those who came into close contact with the suspect.
“I had a mask on and I had gloves on and I was a pretty good distance away, so I was not really concerned about my health,” he explained. “But I was concerned about the employees and the customers that were near him.”
The Wuhan virus can spread when someone breathes in droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or when a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Those infected may not show symptoms, and it is for that reason the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
The Justice Department has said that anyone threatening or attempting to spread the coronavirus can be charged with terrorism.
“Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a memo to U.S. attorneys and federal law enforcement agencies, according to WRCB-TV.
JUST IN: The Justice Department has notified the nation's federal prosecutors that anyone threatening or attempting to spread the coronavirus can be charged with terrorism. https://t.co/2gjsd5ttFS
— WRCB-TV (@WRCB) March 25, 2020
There are nearly 14,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the commonwealth of Massachusetts, as of Monday evening. More than 1,240 have required hospitalization and the death stood at 260.
Stop and Shop released a statement reassuring customers that there was no risks due to the man’s actions.
“The customer’s actions were not in accordance with CDC guidelines, which we have been consistently encouraging all shoppers and associates to follow to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” the statement said. “We have discarded potentially affected product and conducted a deep cleaning and sanitizing of all impacted areas. The Board of Health has inspected the store and affirmed the store is safe for shoppers.”