‘You now have coronavirus’: Florida man gets into youth’s face at restaurant

Coronavirus: Florida man gets in youth’s face at restaurant

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — A Florida man is accused of grabbing a child wearing a mask at a restaurant and telling him, “You now have coronavirus” as he got close to the boy’s face, authorities said.

Jason Andrew Copenhaver, 47, of Redington Shores, was arrested Sunday and charged with simple battery and disorderly conduct, according to Pinellas County Jail records. He was released Monday after posting $650 bail.

According to the Treasure Island Police Department, Copenhaver approached the boy at Ricky T’s Bar and Grille and asked if the child was wearing a mask, WTSP reported. When the boy, whose age was not revealed in the arrest report, answered affirmatively, Copenhaver allegedly told him to “take it off” and shake his hand, WFLA reported.

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When the boy refused, Copenhaver allegedly grabbed his hand, pushed his face close to the child and said, “you now have coronavirus,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The “victim stated that (Copenhaver) was in such close proximity that spit particles from (Copenhaver’s) mouth landed in his face,” officers wrote in an arrest report.

Copenhaver then walked over to the bar and was asked by the restaurant’s staff to sit down, as he appeared to be intoxicated and was not wearing shoes, WTSP reported. According to the arrest report, Copenhaver allegedly tried to hit a worker two times before he was subdued by the restaurant staff.

Copenhaver allegedly told officers he was not sure if he had the coronavirus and had not been tested, the Times reported.

Jason Andrew Copenhaver was arrested after he grabbed a boy in a west-central Florida restaurant on Sunday.
Jason Andrew Copenhaver was arrested after he grabbed a boy in a west-central Florida restaurant on Sunday. (Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)