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Two women and two girls are facing charges after allegedly assaulting an Ottawa store employee who asked them to respect physical distancing measures.

City police say the incident happened on Thursday night when the group entered the unnamed store.

Police say an employee asked them to honour the public health restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, but the 20-year-old and three teens responded by assaulting the staff member.

Police allege the foursome kicked and punched the employee, threw store merchandise at the victim, then smashed the staff member’s cellphone before fleeing the store.

Police say they caught up with the group a short time later and arrested everyone without incident.

All four are charged with one count each of assault, assault with a weapon, and causing a disturbance, while the 20-year-old is also charged with various theft and drug-related offences.

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