A man has been spotted sporting a Ku Klux Klan hood as a makeshift coronavirus mask while doing his grocery shopping at a San Diego County supermarket on Saturday.
The unidentified man pushed a shopping trolley around the Mission Gorge Road Vons store in Santee, California as employees reportedly asked him to take it off.
As the man went to pay at the checkout, a supervisor approached and gave the shopper an ultimatum: remove the hood or leave.
Melissa Hill, a spokesperson for Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions stores in Southern California, told The Los Angeles Times the shopper complied and removed the racist headpiece but was then allowed to continue to purchase his items.
Outrage over the incident on social media was swift:
@beilis_jay @stonecold2050 Wearing that in a public space should be just as illegal as “yelling ‘fire!’ in a movie… https://t.co/UDpXgxv29f
In response to the incident, Santee Mayor John Minto condemned the KKK-hooded shopper:
Many thanks to all who stepped forward to curtail this sad reminder of intolerance. Santee, its leaders and I will not tolerate such behavior.
While on behalf of the store, Melissa Hill added:
At Vons, fostering an environment of courtesy, dignity and respect is one of our highest priorities, and we work hard to hold everyone in our stores to these standards, including customers. This was a disturbing incident for our associates and customers, and we are reviewing with our team how to best handle such inappropriate situations in the future.
The incident happened just one day after it became mandatory to wear a facemask in public in the county.
At the time of writing, the state of California has almost 55,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and sadly 2,254 people have died.