Guelph resident looking to take action against mandatory masks at grocery stores
Published Saturday, May 23, 2020 7:27PM EDT
GUELPH -- While one Guelph resident has started a petition to make masks mandatory in major Canadian grocery stores, another Guelph resident is looking to take action against this mandating.
On Wednesday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Doctor Theresa Tam officially recommended Canadians wear non-medical face masks when maintaining a two metre distance is not possible.
The Ontario government also recommends residents cover their face in public when possible.
The Longos in Guelph is one of many stores under the chain that requires all employees and customers to wear face masks.
It was this mandating that caused Paul Taylor of Guelph to refuse to shop at the store.
"I believe the company, Longos, is taking preemptive steps that they shouldn’t be taking and in doing that it violates people’s rights," he said. "They’re making an assumption that people are sick when they very well may not be."
Taylor says he reached out to the Ontario Human Rights Commission on Friday regarding the mandated masks at Longos, but has not heard back.
He adds that if the government mandates masks he will comply, but if he is forced to wear one without such a mandate he will pursue legal action.
Some shoppers at the Longos in Guelph says this rule makes sense to them, even if the covering might not be the most comfortable when wearing other items like glasses.
"Because we have to kill this virus I wear it every time I go out," one shopper said. "I’ve just been tested and it’s negative too."
Dr. Samantha Hill, president of the Ontario Medical Association, says masks are not a replacement for physical distancing or hand washing requirements, but wearing one in public places adds a much needed extra layer of protection.
"Your mask protects me, my mask protects you," she said. "It traps spit or droplets from getting too far away from you."
She adds this is especially helpful when the person wearing the mask is asymptomatic with COVID-19.
The OMA says they understand not everyone can wear a mask and that people should only do so if they can do it safely without readjusting it.
"If you can, you should," said Hill. "If you see someone who isn’t, don’t judge."