EDWARDS, Colo. — A customer at a Colorado grocery store was cited on suspicion of intentionally coughing on another shopper’s items after refusing to comply with social distancing rules, authorities said.
Nathan Herries, 51, of Vail refused to follow a request by an employee at the Village Market in Edwards to stay 6 feet (2 meters) away from customers and employees as required by the store and a county health order, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
He ranted that the worker was falling for media hype about the coronavirus before getting between a customer and an employee and coughing on the products the other customer was buying, the office said.
Herries was later identified by an anonymous tipster after the sheriff’s office shared surveillance images on social media, the office said. He was issued a summons for violating a public health order, disorderly conduct and tampering. He was not arrested.
Herries on Tuesday denied coughing at the store, although he said he may have “breathed hard once as a joke like a teenager might do” after he refused a cashier’s request to step back. Herries believes the virus is similar to the common cold and is part of a “plandemic” by global central bankers to collapse the United States’ currency and bring about a one world government.
He said he thought the one-way aisles in the store and the plastic barriers protecting cashiers were unnecessary overreactions.
“I feel like I am living in the world of absurdity,” Herries said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe life-threatening illness, including pneumonia, and death.