The woman, who filmed the Monday afternoon encounter on her phone, says she was shopping at the Dollar Tree on Kings Highway in Cherry Hill around 12:30 p.m. when she heard yelling at the front of the store.
"There was an employee trying to get a customer to put his mask on while she was ringing him up and he was refusing," said Shaun Honold, of Maple Shade.
In the video, an employee can be heard saying, "Put your mask on." The man replies, "No. I can't breathe. I have asthma." The employee says, "Yeah? So do I," and the man responds, "I don't care about you."
As the situation became more intense, Honold said she pulled out her phone and started recording because she was concerned for her safety, after other incidents have escalated to violence.
"I realized this was getting bad quick," she said. "I was getting nervous for my own safety. So, I pulled out my phone and thought, 'Somebody needs to document this.'"
She added the man was carrying a large umbrella and started waving it around as he grew more agitated.
"I don't have no (expletive) virus," he said.
The employees said they were trying to enforce Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order, requiring a face covering to enter a business to prevent the spread of COVID-19. About a minute into the video, the employee threatens to call the police.
"Better call the police," the man said. "Better call Governor Murphy."
Honold said she was baffled since the man had the mask around his neck.
"...There's no reason why he couldn't have pulled it over his face just to check out," she said.
Other shoppers were also shocked at the behavior.
"I think that's irrational," said Navi Perez of Pennsauken. "I think they're not thinking about other people that may have underlying issues."
Our sister-station Action News reached out to Dollar Tree for comment, but have not heard back.
New Jersey State Police say with any incident - regarding mask-wearing or otherwise - you should call 911 if you fear for your safety.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with moderate to severe asthma are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 and are advised to wear masks in public.
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