With a mandatory mask rule now in effect for Durham Region, the onus is on businesses to implement policies ensuring their customerscomply. But some have already seen pushback after posting how they were handling the bylaw online.
“For us, we are put in a situation where we have to deal with it best we can,” says the co-owner of Deadly Grounds Coffee in Courtice, Brad Mavin.
“We’re not police, we’re not bylaw. We’re just trying to work with what they outlined for us.”
The company posted a message on its social media accounts that said, in part, “Our staff will be wearing theirs while indoors as per the rules. Please do not argue with us.”
“We are enforcing these rules both for your safety and it is a requirement that if not followed, could result in a fine.”
It’s not a popular decision for everyone. A number of small groups have spoken out against mask bylaws, one group even deliberately boarding the TTC in Toronto without masks.
Mavin says when the company posted on social media, there was a bit of pushback.
“We’ve had a couple of those people this morning, but you know, we can’t really front on those people. We’re just looking out for the best interest for our customers and our staff,” says Mavin.
It’s the dilemma most Durham businesses face now. After being shut down for months, they say they need to comply.
And for the most part, it seems customers are fine with it.
“Do you wear a seatbelt when you drive? Well, why not wear a mask,” says customer Josh Kowalchuk. “I think the pushback on people is ridiculous.”
Mavin, who also co-owns 8-Bit cafe in Whitby, says it’s been a challenge trying to field the backlash, mostly coming from a small portion of people claiming a mask policy is an infringement on their rights. He says when it comes down to it, his businesses’ hands are tied and people have to be patient.
“We’re going to be working with those people that are anti-mask people and serve them as well. But don’t make us a target, don’t come at us and say, ‘Well, you’re doing this.’ We all have to do this. We’re in this together.”
That sentiment was echoed by the owner of The Artery Original Tattoos, Jeff Cook.
He has had to use masks since reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic and says he supports having them all around.
“A lot of sources are ignoring science and ignoring just the basic decency of looking out for your community.”
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Kyle implemented the policy this week. Non-medical masks and face coverings are now required in most indoor public spaces. This includes shopping malls, retail, convenience stores and other public enclosed spaces.
“Indoor places increases the opportunity for people who are exposed, not exposed to mix and match,” says Kyle.
He adds that with the culture of wearing masks, the region and the country will be better poised for a potential second wave of COVID-19.
“It’s all for the greater good. It’s about we, in addition to me.”
When it comes to enforcement in Durham, the region says it will be progressive and focused on education.
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