After a spitting incident in Nelson, B.C. made national headlines in November, the Nelson Police Department has arrested another person for refusing to wear a mask in a cafe.

The initial incident at Empire Coffee, on Nov. 20, was the day after the province mandate requiring masks in public indoor spaces. After a man spat on an employee at the business, the employee had a heart attack and required hospitalization. 

The latest arrest took place at Oso Negro cafe in Nelson on December 31. The NPD issued a charge under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act — the second charge under the act they’ve recommended. One was a violation ticket of $230.

In the last year, Staff Sgt. Brian Weber said the NPD have dealt with around 93 COVID-related calls for service, out of an annual average of 6,400 calls. 

He said the police have been mostly successful with voluntary compliance once they attend a situation. Weber said it is difficult to compare Nelson’s response to other communities. Although he’s heard of other police departments writing more tickets, Nelson’s small population makes the numbers difficult to put in perspective.

Over the holidays, Weber said there were very few calls to the NPD.

Weber said that he personally feels claustrophobic wearing a mask, but is happy to do so in the line of duty he says we all share: to protect one another.