Woman Sprays Walmart Cashier In The Eyes With Lysol After Being Told About Purchase Limit, Police Say

A woman in Massachusetts allegedly sprayed Lysol in a Walmart cashier's eyes after she was told there was a limit on how many cans of the disinfectant she could buy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The incident occurred at the Walmart Supercenter on Soojian Drive in Leicester, Massachusetts on March 27, according to the Leicester Police Department. In a news release on Monday, the police department issued an appeal for the public's help in identifying the woman involved.

Police said the woman sprayed the unidentified cashier in the eyes with Lysol after being told about the purchase limit and then made off in what is thought to be an Uber. Paramedics were called to the store to treat the cashier following the assault, police added.

"The female suspect was informed by a cashier that there was a limit on the number of Lysol disinfectant cans that she was trying to purchase," police said.

Leicester Police
Police issued an appeal to identify a woman who allegedly sprayed a Walmart cashier in the eyes with Lysol. Leicester Police Department

"The female responded by spraying the cashier in the eyes with the Lysol requiring a response from EMS. She then completed her purchase and left in what is believed to have been an Uber."

The Leicester Police Department and Walmart have been contacted for comment.

Walmart has taken measures to protect its staff and customers during the coronavirus pandemic—including closing stores overnight for cleaning and restocking and installing sneeze guards and markers to help people practice social distancing in stores.

The company said last week that it has also expanded paid leave policies, started doing temperature checks and started providing masks and gloves to staff.

"In this taxing and uncertain time, our associates have gone above and beyond to help Americans get the food, medicine and supplies they need," Dacona Smith, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Walmart U.S. said.

"While many of our customers have been following the advice of the medical community regarding social distancing and safety, we have been concerned to still see some behaviors in our stores that put undue risk on our people."

As a result, Walmart announced that it would take further steps in U.S. locations, including limiting the number of people who can be inside a store. Stores will now allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time—around 20 percent of a store's capacity.

Massachusetts has 13,837 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 260 deaths, according to the latest data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The U.S. has more than 360,000 cases and more than 10,980 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Almost 20,000 people have recovered.

Anyone with information about the Walmart incident is urged to contact Officer Matthew Soojian at (508) 892-7010 ext. 2066 or soojianm@leicesterpd.org.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.
A can of Lysol disinfectant spray. Lysol