Allison Goodbaum spoke to "Good Morning America" about the incident, which happened at the New York City Bagel & Coffee House on 30th Avenue and Broadway in Astoria on Saturday, June 6, two days before New York City entered Phase 1 of its reopening.
It was also caught on camera, with the harrowing video quickly going viral.
"I just saw this woman, and she was, she entered and she was just coughing on everything," Goodbaum said. "She's covering her mouth. She wasn't wearing a mask. She just wasn't following the CDC guidelines."
Goodbaum then complained to an employee, but the woman overheard, stormed over and told her to mind her own business. She then claimed she had "good antibodies" and didn't need to wear a mask, before coughing on Goodbaum.
"When she came to me and coughed on me, I felt her breath and I felt it, you know, on your face kind of like when someone sneezes and they're very close to you," she said. "So that part was pretty jarring...I was shocked that she came toward me like that, and that that was her initial reaction was to cough on me. And I was really scared because I was thinking, did she actually infect me?"
The man who shot the video spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News but did not want his name used.
"I did realize she was barking back about not wearing a mask in an aggressive way," he said. "I was concerned she would physically assault the other woman. I didn't know how far it would escalate."
He said the woman didn't say a word to him and only realized in the last few seconds before storming off that she was being taped.
"She knew she had been caught doing something really wrong," he said.
The woman's former employer, Weill Cornell Medicine, released a statement condemning her actions and saying she hasn't worked for them since January.
"I'm not quite sure what to really do, because, you know, you're not used to saying if someone comes at you and physically harms you, you know that that is bad, right?" Goodbaum said, "But in a state like this, where someone coughs on you close, we're to say, 'Oh, this person coughed on me,' even though we know that that's someone who's, you know, they could be potentially spreading germs. So I think that that also was just a moment of total, what do you really do? What do you? Who do you go to? What do you say in the moment?"
The NYPD says there is a complaint report on file for harassment.
"My number one message is obviously just wear masks when you're inside," Goodbaum said. "Please, just take this seriously. And again, it's just uncharted territory for all of us. And we're going into all of these phases, are reopening at different times across the country. And I think that, you know, nobody wants to backtrack. Nobody wants to take one big step back. And I think the more that these things happen, there's a greater likelihood that that could happen. It's not just about you. It's about keeping your community safe."
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