A couple, filmed in a viral video wearing masks with Nazi swastikas emblazoned on them, will be banned from shopping at a Minnesota Walmart for at least one year, police said Monday.
The ugly incident unfolded Saturday at the store’s location in Marshall, Minnesota, about 150 miles west of Minneapolis and approximately 100 miles northeast of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, authorities and company officials said.
In the tweeted video, which had received 3.2 million views by late Monday morning, shoppers could be seen confronting the swastika-wearing pair as they paid for their goods.
Local governments and retailers across the nation have enforced codes and rules for people to wear masks in public to slow spread of the coronavirus. But some Americans have refused to follow those orders, saying such mandates are unjust.
And for months, President Donald Trump had accused mask wearers of being “politically correct” or said they were donning the protective equipment as an act of defiance against him (earlier this month he called mask-wearing “patriotic”).
The shoppers were apparently protesting the mask requirements as being the equivalent of Nazi-like demands, as opposed to espousing Nazi ideology themselves. “If you vote for Biden, you are going to be in Nazi Germany,” the female Walmart shopper said in the video, in reference to Trump’s Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden.
Officers responded to that Walmart at 11:46 a.m. because the man and woman “were causing a disturbance,” according to a statement by Marshall Police Sgt. Jason Buysse.
The shoppers, who were not identified, were issued trespassing notices which will ban them from returning to that southwest Minnesota location for at least the next year, Buysse said.
Earlier this month, Walmart began requiring all shoppers to wear face coverings inside its stores, as America continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart said in a statement that Saturday’s incident in Marshall, Minnesota, was “unacceptable” and pleaded with shoppers to wear masks.
“We strive to provide a safe and comfortable shopping environment for all our customers and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment in any aspect of our business,” the statement said.
“We are asking everyone to wear face coverings when they enter our stores for their safety and the safety of others and it’s unfortunate that some individuals have taken this pandemic as an opportunity to create a distressing situation for customers and associates in our store.”