Thrown groceries, broken glass: Oakland workers ‘verbally, physically assaulted’

The behavior of many people in the Pandemic is beyond reprehensible.

The childish like temper tantrums by adults in name only calls into question the maturity and intelligence of today’s grown ups.  And this foul behavior is not an American phenomena.  These dangerous, immature and brutish antics are occurring all over the World.

People simply refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of the Pandemic.

These sensible restrictions, such as mask wearing, are going to be with us for the foreseeable future. It’s scary to think about this abhorrent behavior growing worse as time goes by.

Excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle 8.3.2021

Last Tuesday, a customer at Community Foods Market in West Oakland, upset about the store’s indoor mask mandate, threw a bag of groceries at a cashier, shattering glass items that were inside of it, owner Brahm Ahmadi said. Earlier in the month, another customer threw a watermelon at an employee, and in a separate incident the general manager had to duck to avoid a full can of soda that a customer chucked at his head, Ahmadi said.

The cashier who had a bag of groceries thrown at her last week called out for the next two shifts, he said. Ahmadi posted about the harassment to Instagram on Sunday with the message in the hope of supporting his staff: “Please don’t assault us.”

Since Community Foods Market started asking customers to mask up again in mid-July, verbal animosity and even physical harassment from customers have become a regular occurrence, Ahmadi said. His employees are worn down and stressed out, forced back into the role of public health enforcers amid conflicting local, state and federal guidance over the past few weeks.

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Masks again required when shopping indoors

For weeks, some businesses have been creating their own policies around masks and proof of vaccination, while others are hesitant to do so out of fear of the potential conflict with customers. But on Monday, Bay Area health officers announced a renewed indoor mask mandate that will apply to everyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, to stem the surge of the highly contagious delta variant. That might take the pressure off business owners.

Community Foods Market reinstated its mask requirement days after Bay Area officials’ July 16 recommendation that everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks indoors again.

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Ahmadi said he was relieved, even in the absence of a firm mandate, to have something to hang a mask requirement on. He had reluctantly stopped asking customers to wear masks inside after California’s June 15 reopening, which he said felt premature especially given the lower rates of vaccinations in West Oakland. According to public health data, the ZIP code where the store is located has a 66% vaccination rate, compared to Oakland’s overall 68% rate and San Francisco’s 77%.

“We’re being extra cautious given we serve a population that tends to be more vulnerable or more at risk to COVID,” he said.