MONTREAL -- A pregnant Quebec woman is trying to recover from an assault she suffered on Sunday morning while at her job, at a convenience store in the town of Trois-Rivières, after she asked a customer to wear a mask.

Shortly after 11 a.m., a man who refused to wear a COVID-19 mask allegedly hit the woman on the head and pushed her into the wall before lashing out at other customers on his way to the shop's exit.

The woman works at a Couche-Tard convenience store at the corner of Des Récollets Blvd. and Papineau St. in the town.

Her spouse, who asked to remain anonymous for his partner's sake, since she is shaken, said he can't believe the gratuitous violence she was subjected to.

"She was working weekends," the man said, speaking in French.

"The client came in without his mask and she gave him a warning. He left, then returned a few minutes later, heading straight for the milk fridges, where he opened a pint and started drinking the contents, still without his mask," he said.

"My girlfriend intervened, and that's when he gave her a blow on the temple before pushing her into the wall."

The woman's partner said he's been very afraid for her and for the child she's carrying.

"If he'd hit her in the stomach, it was over," he said, referring to his partner's pregnancy.

"She has a bad blow to her temple. She spent part of her day in the hospital on Sunday to see if anything had happened to the baby," said the man.

She also took off Monday in order to rest after the incident, he said. 

A man has been charged: Samuel Savoie, who faces counts of assault, robbery and mischief, a spokesperson for the Quebec Crown prosecutors' office told CTV.

He appeared at the Trois-Rivières courthouse on Monday and returned Tuesday for his bail hearing. The Crown opposed his release while proceedings are pending, said the spokesperson.

The woman in question had only been working at the convenience store for a few weeks after losing her job due to the pandemic, her partner said.

"She wanted to work to clear her mind, because it gets tiresome inside, without having anything to do," he said.

"But now she's shaken. She will be afraid of going back to work."

Savoie also allegedly damaged health equipment that was inside the business and attacked others who were inside the business at the time.

The Crown spokesperson said that it's impossible to know whether other violence has occurred lately in Quebec over the wearing of masks, since such incidents could be categorized as various kinds of criminal acts and can't be searched for by that single factor.

Two protests over public health rules, including Quebec's curfew, have become large and dramatic in Montreal in the last two weekends, with the first ending in the blockage of a traffic tunnel and a man bashing in cars with a hammer.

The second, which took place the same day as the incident in Trois-Rivières, ended with four arrests, including a charge of assaulting an officer with a weapon.

This report was published with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative, with files from CTV Montreal.