Small group protests face mask mandate by shopping without one at Grocery Outlet

SPOKANE, Wash.–Starting Tuesday, you won’t be able to walk through the doors of any business in Washington without a face mask on.

A small group of protesters in Spokane disagrees with that mandate.

“Being told you can’t buy, trade or sell without a mask is a serious issue, and you’re restricting people’s right to buy food and to feed their families,” Protester Afshin Yaghtin said.

The small protest comes after two women were kicked out of Grocery Outlet stores in the county earlier this week.

One woman named Nicole went through that experience at the downtown Spokane location.

“She said put on a mask, I said I’m not putting on a mask,” she said. “And then she says, you need to get out.”

The woman offered to check out, but said employees insisted she leave or let them check out for her while she waited outside.

She ended up leaving without any groceries that day, and that’s why she and many others came back to the store Friday afternoon without a mask.

“It’s our right whether we have a medical condition or not, not to wear a mask and choose how we’re gonna treat our own personal health,” Nicole said.

While Nicole and other protesters have claimed the mandate is unconstitutional, states and local governments actually have broad authority to create such rules- especially during a public health emergency.

In that regard, businesses also have the right to refuse service to patrons, as long as it’s not on the basis on discrimination.

Grocery Outlet decided not to kick out any protesters today.

Other customers we spoke to said they don’t like wearing one, but feel like it is the right thing to do.

Spokane’s top health officer is hoping more people can follow that trend.

“If I get 80-90 percent of people wearing face coverings, we can bend the curve, but people need to do the work,” Dr. Bob Lutz said.

READ:Businesses required to turn away customers without masks under extended order