Just prior to the local health unit’s mandating of masks in mid-July, the grumbling seemed deafening – from consumers, but also from some business owners tasked with enforcing this new rule.
It’s not uncommon to, a few weeks into the new regulation, observe the unmasked wandering aisles in defiance – serving as fodder for the shaming soldiers of social media. But in most quarters of Kawartha Lakes, the majority of residents of Kawartha Lakes would seem to falling in line.
Cathy Puffer, owner of Remedy’s RX in Lindsay, said a few days prior to the official start date of the edict, she figured 60 per cent of her clientele were wearing masks. But by the end of day one of the new rule, that number had increased – even beyond her expectations.
“I would say 99 per cent were wearing masks and well-aware of the new requirement,” she told The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes, adding that she was, indeed, surprised at the high percentage.
The few who didn’t have a mask, she said, either purchased a disposable one at her business or simply returned with some kind of face covering.
(You can listen to that entire interview with Cathy Puffer here).
The issue of how the rule should be enforced – and who, ultimately, can enforce it – has been hotly debated.
But lawyer Jason Ward, of Ward Legal, stresses that business owners can – and should – only be focused on educating their client base and posting very visible signs identifying the new rule before they enter.
If someone adamantly refuses to wear a mask and can offer no explanation for exemption, and still “insists on wandering throughout the store, the store should permit that while waiting for the health unit or the police to intervene,” Ward told podcast host Denis Grignon, in a full-length interview, which explores the legal nuances of the rule.
“There should be no physical interaction between employees and customers.”
That comprehensive conversation is featured on the next episode of the Advocate Podcast, which drops August 1.
All episodes of The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes, sponsored by Wards Lawyers, are available to stream and download for free via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and at lindsayadvocate.ca