Home News Coronavirus Update: Florida Man Pulls Gun on Shopper at Walmart Over Mask

Coronavirus Update: Florida Man Pulls Gun on Shopper at Walmart Over Mask

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A 28-year-old Florida man is facing aggravated assault charges after pointing a gun at another Walmart shopper who told him to wear a mask.

Vincent Scavetta surrendered to Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday. Bail was set at $15,000.

According to an arrest report, Scavetta admitted to pulling a gun during a July 12 argument with Chris Estrada, who had told him to wear a mask because of the pandemic. A Palm Beach County mandate requires masks be worn in stores.

Scavetta told investigators he had been wearing a mask, but it got wet in the rain as he pushed his father in a wheelchair through the parking lot into the store. The wet mask made it difficult to breath and fogged his glasses, so he took it off, Scavetta said.

According to surveillance video, while in the store, Scavetta almost walked into Estrada’s daughter. That’s when Estrada told Scavetta he should wear a mask. Scavetta and Estrada yelled obscenities at each other. The argument escalated as Estrada approached Scavetta with his umbrella. After a passerby attempted to intervene, Scavetta drew his gun from his waistband and pointed it at Estrada.

Scavetta, who said he feared for his life, told investigators Estrada threatened him and his father and hit him in the forehead with an umbrella tip.

Estrada told detectives he did not want to pursue charges, but he wanted Scavetta to lose his concealed weapons permit. Scavetta declined to give up his permit.

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC

A forecast published by the CDC now projects more than 164,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. by August 15. States that are likely to experience most of the deaths are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

In a disappointing reversal, more than 1.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, an uptick of more than 100,000 over the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

In addition, claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which helps people who are self-employed, increased by nearly 20,000.

The increase in new unemployment claims comes as businesses in several states close their doors again in response to a surge in new coronavirus cases. In little more than four months, a staggering 52.7 million have sought unemployment aid for the first time.

The NAACP is suing the Education Department over the distribution of more than $13 billion in federal aid intended for K-12 schools.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued a rule mandating the federal funding of school-related services, such as tutoring and extra school buses to allow for physical distancing, be extended to private schools.

This type of mandate historically refers only to low-income students in private schools. Critics of the rule argue that the majority of private school students are white and wealthy, while a majority in public schools are students of color from low-income households.

“The Rule is as immoral as it is illegal,” the lawsuit by the NAACP says. “In a moment of crisis — when public school districts are called upon to educate their students in unprecedented circumstances, to protect their students and staff from disease, and to feed families who have been plunged into poverty, all with decimated state and local revenues — it is unconscionable for Defendants to siphon away the CARES Act’s desperately needed funds for the benefit of more affluent private-school students.”

Attorneys general in California, Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland have filed similar lawsuits.

Results of a new AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows more Americans are in favor of wearing masks in public as the pandemic rolls on. Three out of four Americans, 89% of Democrats and 58% of Republicans, are in favor of face coverings mandates while outside their homes. The issue, which has become highly politicized, is becoming more about public health and trying to end the spread of the virus.

The survey also revealed that about two-thirds of Americans disapprove of how Trump is handling the outbreak. About half say they approved of stay-at-home orders, except for essential trips, and nearly three-quarters of Americans said restrictions to curb the spread of the virus should be priority over concerns of damaging the economy.

A cafeteria worker at the White House has tested positive for coronavirus, according to Trump administration officials.

The cafeteria in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, or EEOB, were both closed this week after the case was discovered and is expected to remain closed for two weeks. The building also houses the offices of much of the senior White House staff, including officials from the coronavirus task force, the vice president’s office, the National Security Council and several economic policy shops.

The parent company of Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and several other clothing brands announced it is filing for bankruptcy due to the collapse of sales during the pandemic.

The firm Ascena Retail Group said it plans to close “a significant number” of locations for its girls’ brand Justice, more than 150 Lane Bryant stores and “a select number” of Ann Taylor, Loft and Lou & Grey stores. It will also close all Catherines stores and all locations of all brands in Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico.

For the first time in 30 years, Walmart announced it will be closed on Thanksgiving, saying it wants to give a break to essential staff who have been working since the pandemic began.

“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones,” John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S, said in a statement.

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