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The owner of The Greek Spot, Kosta Dionisopoulos, says one of his employees was assaulted Monday afternoon after telling a customer to wear a mask while inside the restaurant located at 2017 11th St. NW. After being asked to wear a mask and write down his name for contact tracing purposes, the patron lost his temper and hurled everything from plexiglass to tip jars to desserts at a woman working behind the counter.

D.C. currently requires restaurant customers to wear masks whenever they’re not actively eating or drinking. That rule has been difficult to enforce. COVID-19 is most commonly transmitted through respiratory droplets, making face masks the best line of defense against spreading the virus.

Mask-wearing has become a contentious issue in the U.S., leading to dangerous and even deadly showdowns across the country. Incidents have occurred at an Oakland, CaliforniaMcDonald’s; a liquor store in Eugene, Oregon; a Dollar Store in Flint, Michigan; and a Target in Van Nuys, California, to name a few. 

Dionisopoulos describes the scene that unfolded at his restaurant around 2:30 p.m. He wasn’t present at the time. “A man barged in and bought his scooter into the dining room,” he says. “He put everything on top of a table. Our policy is if you’re going to dine in, you must first order and sign in. He said some really foul things about my employee. A witch with a ‘B.’ He even grabbed a bucket of water she was using to clean surfaces and said he should throw it on her.” 

Then, according to Dionisopoulos, the customer left the store briefly before returning to wreak further havoc. “He came back and started striking everything on the counter and throwing it at her including Plexiglas, tip jars, and desserts,” he says. “He was belligerent and threatening her.” 

Dionisopoulos is not revealing his employee’s identity for safety and privacy reasons. “We have a lady who is really hurt up and shook up,” he says. “We shut the restaurant down for an hour and a half so she could go home. We paid her for her full shift and made sure she was OK.”

The Greek Spot is pulling security camera footage today, which Dionisopoulos says he’ll turnover to the police in hopes that they’ll investigate what happened. City Paper will update this story if officials identify the customer.

This isn’t the first time The Greek Spot has had difficulty enforcing the city’s face-covering policy, according to Dionisopoulos. Typically, he says, it’s drivers for third-party delivery apps that come into the restaurant without masks on. Companies like UberEats haven’t done a great job providing contractors with protective gear like masks and gloves.

“We have new regulations we have to follow,” he says. “We want to stay in business and keep our staff there. We don’t get why regular people can’t follow these rules. It’s hard enough for us to exist. It feels like every day is a different problem.”

The Greek Spot first shared what happened on Facebook yesterday: