CALGARY -- A video of a confrontation over mandatory face coverings at a fabric store in Calgary shows an unmasked woman berating customers and staff, calling them “sheep” and saying no one is sick from COVID-19.

“You are a sheep, just like the rest of them,” the woman is heard saying to another customer at the Fabricland on Fisher Road S.E. “Why don’t you people educate yourselves?”

Staff say the incident happened around noon on Sunday when the woman was told to put on a mask inside the store. She initially refused and confronted a customer who was recording on her phone.

“You’re really close to me,” says the person recording the ordeal.

“Are you afraid? You should run away, but you have your super mask on,” the unmasked woman responds on video.

Masks have been mandatory in Calgary in all indoor public buildings, stores and malls since Aug. 1.

“It’s kind of hard to deal with and keep everyone safe. She just wouldn’t listen, that’s the difficult part — there was no reasoning with her,” said Maddie Lemaistre, the store’s manager.

The woman eventually leaves after Lemaistre asks her to, but not before she tells staff she expects an apology when COVID-19 is “proven to be a hoax.”

Lemaistre said she’s not aware of the woman saying she had a medical condition that would exempt her from wearing a mask, but she explained Fabricland has online and curb-side pickup options for customers who are unable to wear a face covering.


The video in Calgary comes as a new poll shows nearly a quarter of Canadians think warnings about the dangers of COVID-19 were overblown by the government and public health officials.

The poll, released Tuesday by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, shows 23 per cent of respondents believe officials exaggerated the need for public health measures. Of all the regions in the country, Alberta has the highest percentage of people who think COVID-19 measures have been embellished with 36 per cent.

The online poll was conducted Sept. 11 to 13 and surveyed 1,539 adult Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

“COVID-19 is real. We can’t wish it away, we can't ignore it,” said Premier Jason Kenney Tuesday.

“And if we don’t take reasonable precautions, there’s always the potential it can lead to exponential growth and overwhelm our healthcare system.”

Calgary city council voted Monday night to extend its mandatory mask bylaw until at least December.

With files from the Canadian Press