coronavirus

Man Vandalizes Virginia Coffee Shop After Refusing to Wear Mask

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A Virginia community is showing support for a coffee shop after a man who refused to wear a mask vandalized the place.

The man walked into Abyssinia Market and Coffee House in Old Town Alexandria Sunday morning right past a sign requiring customers wear a face mask. But he refused to wear one.

Lily Damtew, who runs the shop, offered the man a mask of her own, but he still refused.

"Then I open the door and I ask him to leave," she said. 

She said the man spat on her feet.

“And he called me a B-word, an F-word," she said.

When the man left, Damtew wiped the spit from her shoe and called police.

The man came back with a bowl of food and threw it all over her outside table and chairs.

"You can see the stain," Damtew said. 

Then he threw food on her storefront.

“Everything was covered," she said.

Alexandria police say they found the man responsible, but he was not charged. Police would only say he's receiving services at a local facility.

It was just Abyssinia’s second day reopened. Damtew decided to close again.

Once word got out, neighbors started sticking notes of support on the storefront.

"Just want to make sure that she knows she's welcome in this neighborhood," one neighbor said.

"It gives me hope,” Damtew said. “This is amazing."

Alexandria police said she handled the situation the best way possible because there is still an indoor mask mandate in Virginia. Police say if someone isn't wearing a mask in your business, kindly ask them to put one on. If they refuse, ask them to leave. If it ever gets confrontational, call police.

Damtew plans to reopen again Saturday. 

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