Apr 11, 2021 - Health

Florida woman who coughed at customer sentenced to 30 days in jail

The maskless woman who coughed on another customer in a Florida Pier 1 last June was sentenced to 30 days in jail Thursday for second-degree assault, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The incident, which illustrates the polarized tension surrounding mask-wearing, took place in June 2020 when COVID-19 cases were surging. A number of videos showing customers refusing to wear masks in stores went viral at the time.

Details: The maskless woman — Debra Hunter — got into a heated argument at the checkout counter of the Pier 1, when she noticed another customer, Heather Sprague, recording the interaction.

  • In the video, Hunter begins to aggressively confront Sprague for her recording, before walking over to her and coughing on her. She then leaves the store with one of her children.

The judge who presided over the case, James A. Ruth, noted at Thursday's sentencing that Hunter's actions could have had "deadly consequences" as Sprague was undergoing treatment for the removal of a brain tumor and several of her children have weak immune systems.

  • He also noted that Hunter, though concerned about how her actions have affected her own children, did not display much remorse for what she had done.

What's next: Hunter will begin serving her jail sentence in April 19. She was also given six months of probation, and has to take anger management course and pay a $500 fine, per the Post.

  • During her probation period she will be required to undergo mental health evaluations.
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