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Oregon Trader Joe’s manager calmly intercepts anti-mask protesters’ shopping attempt: ‘That’s not going to ha – OregonLive

Oregon Trader Joe’s manager calmly intercepts anti-mask protesters’ shopping attempt: ‘That’s not going to ha – OregonLive

An 8-minute video that went viral this week shows anti-mask protesters attempting to enter a Salem Trader Joe’s and the store manager’s upbeat but firm rejection.

The video, posted by an Instagram user identified as @davenewworld_, has been viewed almost 250,000 times.

A store representative confirmed the incident happened outside the Salem grocery store but referred other questions to corporate representatives who did not immediately respond.

The incident begins with the store manager, whose name tag reads Karim, greeting what appears to be at least a dozen protesters. “Having a good day?” he asks. “I know why you guys are here.”

“We’re here to shop,” one protester says. “Peacefully shop,” another says.

As other masked customers enter the store, the manager repeats that the protesters are welcome to shop too, as long as they wear masks. He says he is more than willing to talk to the group but isn’t interested in debating policy.

Trader Joe’s nationwide policy requires customers to wear masks in stores.

“We’re not demonstrating, we’re buying groceries,” a protester says. “That’s why I’m here.”

The manager says he is enforcing the store’s mask mandate.

“It’s not a law. You cannot enforce non-law,” a protester says. “You cannot deny somebody the right to commerce.”

The store manager appears to offer to shop for the protesters and bring out what they want. Amid growing shouting, a woman says: “I need to buy groceries. I don’t know what I want until I go in and see it. The Civil Rights Act protects me to go in and shop like everybody else.”

Legal experts have told USA Today that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not give people the right to shop without a mask.

The video ends as protesters begin moving to block a different entrance to the store, where they say customers are being allowed in. The footage leaves the resolution to the conflict unclear. But it does not appear the protesters were granted access without masks.

“That’s our goal here, to shop,” one woman says.

Karim, the store manager, replies: “That’s not going to happen.”

— Rob Davis

rdavis@oregonian.com

503.294.7657; @robwdavis

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Published at Sat, 16 Jan 2021 21:20:00 +0000

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