‘It’s what we need to do’: Saskatchewan businesses, communities react to broadened mask mandate

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Customers visiting Lumsden’s Thr3e Clothing Connection are used to wearing masks when they step in the door.

It’s been store policy since September.

“We just felt that this was the right decision to keep us and our staff as well as our customers safe,” said store manager Breanne Dmytriw.

“It was really important for us to set an example for our community.”

As of Monday, all Lumsden businesses will have to follow suit.

Read more: Saskatchewan expands mask mandate, implements curfew on bars with COVID-19 deaths imminent in weeks ahead

The Saskatchewan government implemented an indoor mask mandate in all public places in about 60 Saskatchewan communities.

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The mandate applies to communities with a population of more than 5,000 and in towns that neighbour the province’s three largest cities.

The health order, which came into effect Monday, will last 28 days — similar to the one placed on Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert earlier this month.

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Thr3e Clothing Connection is a destination boutique, according to Dmytriw, with many of its customers coming from bigger city centres.

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That’s part of the reason they implemented a masking policy weeks ago.

“It’s just what we need to do to keep everyone safe. It’s one thing that everyone can contribute and something easy that everyone can do,” said Dmytriw, adding they’ve had nearly 100-per cent customer compliance since the policy started.

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Read more: New highs for active coronavirus cases, hospitalizations as Saskatchewan jumps over 300K tested

In Weyburn, one of the cities under the mandate, Mayor Marcel Roy is asking residents to be very vigilant over the next 28 days.

Despite a recent COVID-19 exposure at a Halloween party outside the city, Roy said the majority of people are following the public health orders.

“We have to understand that human nature is human nature. People will always push boundaries,” Roy told Global News.

“People realize we have to do this. If we’re going to get back to a better normalcy, we have to do certain actions to make it through.”

More measures may be coming to Saskatchewan in the coming days.

Following two more deaths caused by COVID-19 on Sunday, Premier Scott Moe tweeted, “further measures are being considered.”

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Moe, along with Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, will provide an update on COVID-19 measures in a press conference scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Read more: Mask use could cut COVID-19 transmission in Saskatchewan by 50%: Shahab

But communities like Mossbank aren’t waiting for more announcements before implementing its own measures.

Mossbank town council held a special COVID-19 response meeting Saturday

Although the town is not included in the recent mask mandate, council is “strongly recommending” everyone wears a mask in public places and asking businesses to implement their own mask policies.

“We’re just asking the businesses and residents to be a little more cautious,” said Bryan Howe, mayor of Mossbank.

“I know we, myself included, have been very lax so I think this is a wake-up call with the higher cases that we need to be more careful.”

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