A woman recovering from painful surgery to reattach her nose after a dog attack says she was brought to tears when pharmacy staff refused to serve her for not wearing a face mask.
Shereen Mawson, 36, was trying to buy medication at her local store when a female worker shouted at her for not wearing a face covering. However, Shereen, who was left with cartilage hanging off and significant scarring from her friend’s dog, is exempt the rule because of the surgery.
Face masks cause the mother-of-four a lot of pain, but she was still refused service.
Shereen, from Snodland, Kent, said: ‘I walked into the shop and one of the ladies literally shouted at me to get out because I didn’t have a mask on.
‘I said, “I’m really sorry” and I tried to explain to her why I couldn’t wear one. My stitches are so visible and she was just so rude I couldn’t believe it. She went to her manager and he also refused to let me in but he didn’t even come and see me.Man, 22, arrested after car deliberately driven at NHS worker in racist attack
‘Then the member of staff said she could serve me outside and I said “okay, that’s absolutely fine”.’
However, more issues arose when the pharmacy worker discovered that Shereen wanted to pay by card, as that would have needed to take place inside the building.
‘When she found out I was paying by card she then refused me again and at that point I became so overwhelmed I literally bawled my eyes out.
‘I was in tears and ended up having a panic attack outside because I was so embarrassed.’
Thankfully, she was able to be served at another nearby chemist without issues.
The dog attack happened two weeks ago while Shereen , who runs a horse livery yard and rescues animals for a living, was walking around Leybourne Lakes Country Park near Snodland with her friend. Describing the ordeal, she said her broken nose cartilage was left sticking out after she was bitten, after she tried to intervene in the dog being attacked by another.
However, she rejects suggestions that the dog should be put down as she puts the pet’s actions down to pure accident and misfortune: ‘People have said he should be put down but I’ve known that dog for years and know he didn’t do it on purpose, it was just a quick snap reaction.’
Miss Mawson says the recent events have knocked her confidence so much, she now finds it difficult to leave the house.
Catts Pharmacy, which is run by Paydens, apologised and launched an investigation into the incident but disagrees with any claims staff were rude.
A spokesperson added that all customers, regardless of face-covering exemptions, are asked to wait at the door for service: ‘Whilst there are exemptions from wearing face coverings for certain individuals, our company policy advises staff that any customer not wearing a face covering, whether exempt or not, should be politely asked to wait outside the premises and we will attend to them at the door.
‘The reason for this is that despite being exempt from wearing a face covering, we need to protect our staff and other members of the public using our pharmacies.’
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