Parker White has threatened to call the authorities several times over mask confrontations in his shop, but he had not honored one of those threats until Friday.
White is the assistant manager at the Rocky Road marijuana dispensary in EagleVail, where a man was arrested Friday after refusing to wear a mask and then refusing to exit the shop.
White said he stopped short of pressing charges for trespassing, but the man was arrested by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office for resisting arrest. The Sheriff’s Office did not respond to requests for more information on Saturday and Sunday.
On Wednesday, Governor Jared Polis extended Colorado’s mask law for a ninth time through executive order, requiring people 11 and older to wear face coverings in indoor spaces in Colorado.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Polis said extremely high viral presence continues in Colorado.
“Avoid socializing with people outside of your household, wear a mask around others, keep a distance of 6 feet,” Polis said.
Mask exemptions apply to people who “cannot medically tolerate a face covering,” according to the state’s website.
White says Rocky Road does allow guests who have a medical exemption to not wear a mask in the shop, but those customers must show proof that they are exempt from the governor’s executive order regarding masks.
“We also have an option for people to order online and pick up at the front entrance,” White said. “That’s the only real legal option we have to help people without a mask on, without putting our other customers at risk.”
White said the customer arrested on Friday told the front desk worker that he had a medical condition which exempted him from the mask law, but did not provide proof.
“He started trying to quote some HIPPA sections … I offered him a disposal mask, gave him his alternatives, asked him to leave a few times after he refused to do any of the options we gave him and he also refused to leave,” White said. “So at that point, we called the cops.”
Sheriff’s officers arrived within 10 minutes, White said.
“As soon as they got here, he was still refusing to step outside,” White said from Rocky Road on Saturday. “He continued to be difficult with them … he got thrown on the pavement in front of the store after a while.”
Polis: ’Light at the end of the tunnel’
White said while he’s been dealing with non-compliance issues regarding face coverings for months, he’s hopeful that he won’t have many more confrontations.
“It’s all in the hands of the choices that people make, individually and collectively, to avoid socializing with people outside of their household, and wear masks around others,” Polis said.
Delivery services for recreational marijuana have been approved by the state legislature, and the new laws allowing those services went into effect on Jan. 1. White says for people who don’t want to visit the shop, delivery services could provide an alternative.
“I don’t know of any (delivery services) that have popped up locally, yet, but I expect to start seeing them soon,” White said.
White said arguments over face coverings are somewhat common among customers in his shop.
“We’ve had a lot of friction,” he said. “We’ve had a couple people get loud and argumentative in the store, but (before Friday) we’ve never actually had to call the police.”
White said after dealing with it since the summer, when the face covering laws went into effect, he no longer has much patience for non-compliance issues when it comes to masks.
“I politely ask a couple of times, and then we escalate from there,” he said. “Anybody who has argued with me, or wasted my time, in the time they’ve sat there and made both of our days miserable, they could have just gone in and shopped and left.”