Supermarket shopper without mask denied entry, demands apology

A woman was stopped from shopping at a Christchurch supermarket after security questioned the validity of a special pass allowing her to not wear a mask.

Jody Devine is now seeking an apology from Pak’n Save Wainoni over the incident, which she says has traumatised her.

However, Foodstuffs New Zealand head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird told The Star yesterday a customer (Devine) was “politely asked to provide documentation they had a mask exemption” but became verbally and physically abusive towards a member of their team.

“Following this outburst, the customer was asked to leave the store and we understand has now gone to the police.” 

Devine, who does not wear a facemask due to a tic disorder and PTSD, was not expecting any trouble on her visit to the store where she often shops without incident.

Her medical exemption card was emailed to her following an application to the Disabled Persons Assembly NZ. She printed it off and laminated it.

Jody Devine with her mask exemption card. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Jody Devine with her mask exemption card. Photo: Geoff Sloan
She also had further documents saved on her phone to provide more details about her conditions if asked, she said.

“I shopped on Tuesday and it was fine. On Wednesday it wasn’t fine.”

Devine was surprised when security guards told her the exemption card was insufficient.

She then tried to push through the two guards, but they grabbed her and physically blocked her, an experience she found frightening.

“I just want Pak’nSave to do the right thing and apologise.”

People tended to make rude comments when she was running errands without a mask, and after her experience at Pak’n Save, shopping was now her partner’s job, she said.

“Mentally, I can’t do it.”

Said Laird: “Our teams are all working extremely hard to keep customers and their team mates safe, abuse of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any of our stores.”

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