Unmasked man in Washington grocery store speaks out after video goes viral

·2 min read

An unmasked shopper is speaking out after a Facebook video of a confrontation between him and a Washington-based grocery store employee in Spokane went viral.

“One of their employees came up to me and very loudly asked me if I had a medical condition,” Scott, who asked to be identified only by his first name, told NBC affiliate KHQ. “I said I don’t need to tell you if I had a medical condition, but I’m exempt from wearing masks.”

The video shows a Yoke's Fresh Market employee, clad in a light green mask, confronting Scott who can be heard saying he has a medical condition that exempts him from wearing a mask.

It is unclear what happened before the video starts and whether the employee asked specifics about Scott's medical condition.

As the situation escalates, a crowd gathers around the employee and the unmasked man.

"All you had to say was, 'You had a medical exemption and I don't have to wear a mask,'" the employee said in the video.

Scott says in response: "I don't have to tell you about my medical condition."

The employee backs away from Scott after spectators ask him to socially distance. He then asks him to please leave his store.

People are not required to provide details or proof of any medical condition that qualifies individuals for a face covering exemption, according to the Washington Department of Health.

In another recording of the incident, the employee appears to grab and throw Scott’s phone to the ground. As he is escorted out of the store into the parking lot, the employee can be seen hurling an unknown object at Scott's head.

Yoke's Fresh Market told NBC News the incident was "disappointing."

"The way the situation was handled does not reflect our values or standards of service and the employee involved is no longer with the company," Yoke's said. "As disappointing and challenging as this situation is, we see an opportunity to use this as a teachable moment across all of our stores and learn from it."

The company added that they will expand alternative shopping methods including curbside pickup and online shopping.

"For our guests, we will follow all guidelines and of course honor any medical exemptions that prevent the wearing of protective masks in our stores," the company said.

Scott said that he wished no harm to anybody.

“In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t argued with him, I wasn’t trying to do anything violent to anybody,” he said. “I just wanted to get away from him.”

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