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‘Heartwarming’: Regina community boosts business at ice cream shop after anti-mask encounter

Patrons line up outside of Dessart Sweets in Regina. Connor O'Donovan / Global News

Dessart Sweets in Regina’s Cathedral neighbourhood saw lineups early and often Thursday, with many customers saying they came out for a cold treat in response to a video showing an encounter between store staff and a group of anti-maskers Wednesday.

A Dessart Sweets customer shows the gift cards she bought in response to an encounter between a group of anti-maskers and store staff. Dave Parsons / Global News

“I could have just posted on social media, but I waited until after school to bring my daughters. The actions seen in that video were not good and I wanted to show my girls that something positive can come out of it,” said Tenille Lafontaine, who visited the shop Thursday afternoon with her kids to purchase some ice cream and candy.

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“I also came today to buy a $150 gift card. The person that didn’t want to wear a mask told this local business that they were losing out on $150. So I thought, you know what, here’s a great way to ensure that they don’t.

“So we’re going to be using our gift cards all summer.”

Read more: COVID-19: Saskatchewan reports 6 new deaths, 118 new cases

In a now-deleted Facebook video, which was also uploaded to YouTube, a group of people are shown yelling at Dessart Sweets employees.

In the video, the group can be seen and heard lamenting the fact that staff members refused them service because they weren’t wearing masks.

The person recording the video can be heard yelling at employees, “You should really educate yourself, honey,” and, “You know that you’re about to lose like easily $150 right now.”

Global News reached out to the person who posted the original video who declined to comment, beyond acknowledging that the original had been removed.

Read more: SHA easing family presence and visitation restrictions at Regina hospitals

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Shop owner Shelley Patterson told Global News her business has a mask policy that dates back to May 2020. She says her employees held the policy line when confronted by the group.

“We just ask that while people are in line, even outside, that they wear a mask out of respect for our staff and other customers. People literally lean right into our window,” Patterson said.

She said that people have protested her business’s policy in the past, but that this is the first time employees have faced verbal aggression.

“I’m super proud of my staff for standing up for themselves and handling this in such a calm manner,” she added.

“It’s very heartwarming to see people standing up against the anti-maskers, and the show of support for our business and staff is much appreciated.”

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