Okanagan residents, businesses react to new mask mandate

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Okanagan businesses react to new mask mandate
Okanagan businesses react to new mask mandate – Nov 20, 2020

Many residents and businesses in Kelowna said they weren’t surprised to see the new provincial health order that mandates masks in many indoor settings.

Masks are now required in restaurants and bars when you’re not at a table and all public indoor settings and workplaces, including community centres, malls, grocery stores, hotels and retail shops.

“I was expecting it sooner than later,” Burnett’s Florist and Gifts owner Natalie Tocher said.

She estimated that approximately 90 per cent of her customers were already wearing masks.

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Mosaic Books general manager Alicia Neill believes the provincial health order mandating masks takes the pressure off of individual retailers.

“It’s about time. We’re very happy to see it go through,” she said.

“People are more likely just to follow the rule. Some people just like to argue and come in, and they just want to cause a fuss,” she said.

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“It takes responsibility off staff and just makes it a lot easier for our days.”

However, Downtown Shoe Store Manager Delight Cowen said she wasn’t happy about the mask mandate.

“To wear it all day, I mean, I have polyps in my nose, so I have a hard time breathing with this on,” she said.

“But we have to get through this. Like (Dr.) Bonnie (Henry) says, we’re in this together. We just have to suck it up.”

The City of Kelowna said bylaw officers play an active role in educating the public, although they don’t actually issue any fines.

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Out of nearly 700 COVID-related calls since the beginning of March, bylaw has escalated 42 of those to Interior health, RCMP or WorkSafeBC, City of Kelowna risk manager Lance Kayfish said.

“We have seen a little bit of an uptick after each new order has been issued in terms of the number of calls we receive,” he said.

“So we do expect maybe a small uptick, but we’re really hoping that everyone out there in the public in our community does what they need to be safe.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. issues new health restrictions, including a mandatory mask policy for indoor public spaces'
B.C. issues new health restrictions, including a mandatory mask policy for indoor public spaces

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