A Florida man was arrested this month after allegedly hitting a Walt Disney World security guard and threatening to kill him over the theme park resort’s mask policy in place because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Enrico Toro, 35, was arrested on August 14 and charged with misdemeanor battery for an incident that took place at Disney World’s Epcot Center, an Orange County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by PEOPLE said.
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A Disney spokesperson tells PEOPLE, “We expect Guests to treat our Cast Members with courtesy and respect, and while the vast majority of Guests have adapted to our new measures, this unfortunate case required law enforcement.”
Toro, his wife and three kids approached the park’s check-in, but were turned away because their masks did not meet the requirements.
All guests over 2 years old are currently required to wear face coverings at all times except eating or swimming, according to Disney World’s website. Additionally, face coverings worn in the parks must have at least two layers of breathable material, fully cover the wearer’s nose and mouth and secure under the chin, fit snugly and be secured with ties or ear loops in order to remain hands-free. Face coverings like bandanas or neck gaiters are not allowed.
All guests are also required to adhere to social distancing guidelines while in the parks.
Epcot Center at Disney World
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There is also a mask mandate in Orange County, Florida, requiring anyone in a public place to wear a face covering.
The family returned to their car to get the proper masks, but when they returned, the security guard saw that one of the kids’ masks still did not meet requirements, and refused to let them enter the park.
In his statement to police, Toro said that the security guard told him to “f— off,” the report said.
The security guard, 29, told police that Toro began “cussing and saying, ‘Call the police, they will have to shoot me to leave,’ ” the report said.
At this point, the security guard reached to his waist for his phone to call a supervisor, the report said, which is when Toro allegedly “struck him with an open hand across his head.” Toro’s wife stepped in to push him back, but Toro “continued cussing” at the security guard and “began threatening that he knew where he lived and was going to kill him.”
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Eventually, Toro’s wife “got him to walk away towards the parking lot,” the report said.
The security guard was not injured, he told police.
Three witnesses told police that they also saw the altercation and saw Toro strike the security guard.
It was not immediately clear if Toro has legal representation.
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Disney World reopened on July 11 despite the ongoing pandemic and will see reduced hours beginning September 8 as a result of lower-than-expected attendance.
Disney announced numerous new health and safety protocols with its reopening, which in addition to wearing masks and social distancing, include requiring visitors to make reservations for each park online prior to admission, significantly lowering the number of guests allowed in, and reducing capacity on rides, various modes of transportation and in restaurants and retail stores.
Florida has been one of the United States’ hotspots of COVID-19, with at least 611,983 reported positive cases of the virus as of Thursday, according to data from the New York Times.
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