In an appalling incident, a man in New Jersey was charged with terroristic threats and various other crimes on Tuesday after allegedly coughing on a supermarket employee, telling her he had contracted the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and insulting her and other workers.
According to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, 50-year-old George Falcone was charged in connection with an incident that occurred at the Wegman’s on Highway 9 over the weekend.
An employee at the store was allegedly concerned that Falcone was not abiding by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to stand at least six feet away from her while she was tending to an open display of prepared foods, “so she requested that he step back as she covered the food,” according to a press release issued by Grewal’s office late Tuesday afternoon.
“Instead, Falcone allegedly stepped forward to within three feet of her, leaned toward her, and purposely coughed,” the press release continues. “He allegedly laughed and said he was infected with the coronavirus. Falcone subsequently told two other employees they are lucky to have jobs.”
Grocery store employees, such as those at Wegman’s, were deemed critical infrastructure workers in an order released Thursday, March 19 by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.
The incident quickly garnered law enforcement attention.
Falcone was charged with making terroristic threats over his cough and commentary to the grocery store employee, obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function over his initial refusal to cooperate and one petty disorderly persons charge of harassment.