FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Illinois — They're jaw-dropping, brazen and in many cases, violent incidents that have happened at a variety of businesses across the country.
Fired-up customers fighting or arguing with retailers all because the business-owners asked the patrons to put on face masks while in their stores.
"I just can't believe it," said Thomas Brown. "People go to the extreme by hurting somebody else for asking them just to wear a mask? Fortunately, we haven't had anything like that. I believe lots of people who don't wear a mask is not taking it seriously."
Brown and his wife are taking the mask-wearing mandate seriously at their E. Brown's Bakery Shop in Fairview Heights.
The coronavirus-conscious couple liked a new state law designed to get tougher on customers who refuse to wear masks and assault retailers.
"I think that this is trying to protect life. I mean this coronavirus keeps spreading and the numbers keep going up," said Thomas Brown.
The new Illinois law states anyone assaulting a worker who is enforcing face mask policies or social distancing can now be charged with aggravated battery.
It's a felony crime and if convicted, the offender could face up to five years in prison or more depending on their criminal background history and fines up to $25,000.
"It's just a protection to try to help everybody," said Eartha Brown at E. Brown's Bakery.
"I don't want anybody to get sick from walking into my place," said Mike Thouvenot, the owner of Crafty Sugar Company candy shop in downtown Belleville.
Thouvenot also likes the crackdown on people refusing to cover their faces during the pandemic.
"I just don't understand it. I almost need something to help me reinforce the fact that we need to do it," Thouvenot said.
"We've got to care about ourselves and the fellow man. We've got to care about lives because that's what matters," said Thomas Brown.