A woman who allegedly assaulted a convenience store worker after being asked to put on a mask is now wanted by Honolulu police. 

The victim was taken to a hospital, and the alleged attacker just became the Honolulu Police Department’s latest CrimeStoppers suspect. An employee who works at the same 7-Eleven as the victim said the incident has scared workers.

Now, state lawmakers are stepping in to protect retail workers who have no choice but to enforce state and county health requirements. 

“It’s a health and safety issue,” said Rep. Roy Takumi. “It’s like saying, ‘You won’t be served if you’re not wearing a T-shirt or shoes.”

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would make assaulting a retail worker a class C felony in Hawaii. Denby Fawcett/Civil Beat/2020

Takumi introduced House Bill 1589, which would make it a felony to assault retail workers.

“Just comply with it. Otherwise, you could be charged with a class C felony,” Takumi said. “It’s a simple request.”

The charge could result in a minimum one year prison sentence.

Over the last two years, people around the world have been murdered, assaulted and verbally abused for enforcing COVID-19 health mandates. 

In December, a judge sentenced a Minnesota man to one year in prison for repeatedly striking a Menards lumber store employee with a piece of wood after the worker asked him to wear a mask. 

A Michigan security guard was murdered just weeks after a state ordered mask mandate was imposed.

Locally, an Oahu man is expected to go to trial this April for allegedly punching a 71-year-old security guard over a mask dispute. 

Rep. Tina Wildberger called the proposed bill “an important protection measure for front line workers.” 

“While we try to find that balance of allowing our economy to flourish and protecting public health, our front line workers need support,” she added.

HB 1589 has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. It has until Feb. 18 to clear the House Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness committee or it is dead for the session.

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