Florida Man Without Mask Assaults Walmart Staff for Being Denied Entry

A viral video shows a middle-aged man defying Walmart's mask policy in Florida, as he enters the store without a face covering, barges past a security guard, pushes the staff member and then falls to the ground.

"You gotta wear a mask bro," said the person who captured the incident on video, which was posted on Twitter at the weekend.

The man gets up after falling down and continues to walk into the store as the security guard wearing a face mask attempts to block him from shopping without touching him. The customer pushes the security guard into a basket of tomatoes and continues walking into the store before he is surrounded by three members of staff. One Walmart worker said "Sir, I need you out." The man ignores the representative and again continues in store.

Meanwhile in Florida clear folks feeling entitled lol 😷 #COVID19 #coronavirus #maskon #maskoff #mask pic.twitter.com/AqbBqGABff

— Cali_CoCo (@CaliCoCo3) June 20, 2020

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, as of April 17, all associates at Walmart are required to wear masks, despite the regulations of each individual state.

Walmart said in a statement to Newsweek: "Maintaining customer and associate safety remains our top priority. We encourage customers to be especially mindful of one another during this unprecedented time and adhere to recommendations and decisions made by local officials regarding the use of protective facial coverings while in public spaces".

"We have evolved our policy on face coverings from optional to mandatory as public health guidance has shifted," said Walmart in a statement on its mask policy.

"The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends wearing face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, to help curb the spread of the virus. Although most state and local governments do not mandate the use of face coverings in public settings, the CDC has reported that recent studies show a significant portion of individuals with the virus lack symptoms and can transmit the virus. With this knowledge, we believe it is simply in everyone's best interest to use masks or face coverings to curb the spread of this disease."

Walmart Facemasks
Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America. People wearing masks and gloves wait to enter a Walmart on April 17, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus. Al Bello/Getty Images

The company's decision was made using the guidance of state and local public health officials, the CDC, plus Walmart's own chief medical officer. The company's "COVID-19 Emergency Leave Policy" will continue until June 30, 2020.

This footage is one of a series of mask-related altercations captured on video during the pandemic, these include an incident in May in a New York grocery store, in which shoppers are seen vilifying another customer for not wearing a mask.

Staten Islanders with masks drive out non-mask wearing person in grocery store. #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/iPQwk7lD9y

— McAuleyATL (@McAuleyATL) May 25, 2020

Some states, including New York, require face masks when shopping. Others, including Florida, do not. Some believe that being forced to wear a mask is in breach of their civil rights, others say that it's about protecting the community and helping to stop the spread of the disease. The official advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that Americans should wear face masks to limit transmission of coronavirus.

Legal confusion has come as some U.S. states have historic laws that prevent people from wearing face coverings, these laws evolved to prevent groups such as the Ku Klux Klan from using hoods to avoid being identified. This historic law has been suspended during the pandemic in some states, including Georgia, so the public can help fight the spread of coronavirus.

This story has been update with a comment from Walmart.