VIDEO: Woman refuses to wear mask inside Taos store, argues with police

Coronavirus New Mexico

TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – The pressure is on New Mexico businesses to enforce the governor’s mask mandate and many are still dealing with people who refuse to comply. New police video shows one example of what some employees and owners are dealing with.

Last month, a 56-year-old woman was booted from Taos thrift store ‘Re-threads’ for not wearing a mask. “She came over about 20 minutes ago and asked to come in and was explaining how she has paperwork to say not to wear a mask. But I’m under instructions from the owner not to allow anyone inside without a mask,” the store employee said.

The store owner called Taos police after the woman didn’t leave the property. The woman claims the store employee never asked her to leave and she also called police thinking they would side with her. “I’m not trespassing, I’m shopping and asking for support,” the woman said.

“If you are unable to wear a mask or unable to follow what’s been set in place, that’s perfectly up to them,” an officer told the woman. In the video, the woman tells police other stores have allowed her inside without a mask. “I have a medical and legal exemption from wearing a mask. So I call ahead and talk to the owner or the manager. Ninety-nine-percent, I’m welcomed in very warmly. Here they refuse to offer me service,” she said.

Even after she was denied service, she insisted an employee bring clothes to the front door so she can browse from a distance. The woman was given a trespass warning. If she does come back, she could face a criminal charge.

Taos police did not cite the woman for not wearing a mask. KRQE News 13 reached out to ask why but have not heard back. The store owner told us those with a documented medical condition that does not allow them to wear a mask can call or email to arrange a purchase over the phone and do curbside pickup.

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