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'All I wanted was my breakfast': Vancouverite says man harassed him for wearing a mask at Tim Hortons

"He started talking about masking as tyranny," he said.
A Vancouver man says an individual in the line-up at a Tim Hortons restaurant berated him for wearing a face mask indoors on July 1, 2021.

A Vancouver man says an individual in the line-up at a local fast-food restaurant berated him for wearing a face mask indoors. 

Edward (who prefers to use his first name only for safety concerns) told Vancouver Is Awesome that he visited the Tim Hortons on Keefer Street near Main Street between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on July 1. 

While he was waiting in line to get his breakfast, Edward said a man started telling him that he didn't have to wear a mask anymore. At this time, another individual in the store took off their mask.

Edward added that he tried to ignore the situation but that it escalated quickly.

"He started talking about masking as tyranny and anyone who isn't like going along with it is a coward and then he started to focus on me," he explained.

"All I wanted was my breakfast."

Toward the end of the altercation, Edward said the man "started to square up on me to add physical intimidation." 

"I was expecting it to happen but I wasn't expecting it to happen to me."

Although the experience ruined his morning, Edward did not contact the police or alert Tim Hortons management. At the time of the incident, he said the staff appeared to be very busy.

Vancouver Police spokesperson Cst. Tania Visintin told V.I.A. that people should call 9-1-1 if they are ever in a situation where they feel threatened or unsafe. 

"Get to a place of safety and call police as soon as possible," she said. 

While the provincial order mandating the use of masks in public places was lifted July 1, the provincial health officer continues to recommend them in indoor public settings. 

Edward said he isn't surprised that tensions are rising after the announcement.

"I was expecting it to happen," he said. "But I wasn't expecting it to happen to me."

Tim Hortons sent the following emailed statement to V.I.A.

We like all Canadians are excited to see COVID-19-related restrictions are being gradually lifted and we look forward to welcoming guests back with the full in-restaurant experience we offered before the pandemic. While masks are no longer required for guests inside Tim Hortons restaurants in British Columbia, we want guests to feel comfortable wearing a mask if they choose to do so. We ask all guests to respect each other’s choices and the decisions they make for their own health. We’re very sorry to hear about this guest’s experience and hope you will share their contact information so we can contact them personally. 

These have been unprecedented times for restaurants and other businesses, with rapidly developing changes in public health advice. While no longer required by law in British Columbia, you may see team members continuing to wear face coverings as an additional measure to support the health and well-being of them and their community. We also continue to maintain other health and safety standards that were brought in since the onset of COVID-19, such as temperature checks for team members, rigorous hand washing and sanitization routines, and acrylic shields at the front counter and drive-thru windows.