According to the Los Angeles Times, a California woman was arrested in South Lake Tahoe this week for licking groceries and jewelry sold inside a Safeway supermarket.  

Store employees said they witnessed 53-year-old Jennifer Walker putting jewelry sold inside of the store in her hands, before proceeding to lick it. They also said she loaded up her cart with other items that she made sure to contaminate with her mouth. This particular Safeway included merchandise outside of the realm of a typical grocer because of the high volume of tourists who frequented the establishment.

An employee told the police that all the items in the cart were “unsellable due to cross-contamination.” Walker was arrested on felony vandalism charges according to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department after nearly $2,000 worth of merchandise was compromised. Her bail was set at $10,000.

Jennifer Walker’s arrest comes as the country is on heightened alert for behavior that could potentially expose people to COVID-19, including essential grocery store workers.

Walker’s arrest comes as cities and states across the country are enacting new measures to protect grocery store workers from contracting the novel coronavirus. On Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order mandating that all residents wear masks in grocery stores as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to climb. Grocery stores in the Garden State are now only permitted to allow 50 percent of the capacity inside at once. Murphy’s decision comes a week after San Diego County required employees who regularly interact with the public to wear face coverings. Los Angeles and New York have also pushed for people to wear masks in public at all times.

On Tuesday in Boston, several dozen Boston-area grocery store workers and their supporters protested for better employee protections outside of a Whole Foods in the South End, according to the Boston Globe. Because supermarket workers are considered essential employees, Senate Democrats are also pushing to give these employees a “pandemic premium pay increase” of $25,000. 

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