How Guelph businesses are adapting to mandatory masks
GUELPH -- Guelph businesses have faced a steep learning curve when it comes to enforcing a mandatory mask policy in the region.
Nearly three weeks ago, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health put a mandatory mask order in place for all indoor public spaces.
Officials said most people are complying to the order, but businesses have had to adapt in a hurry.
Lorraine Clappison, the owner of Baker Street Station, said it's best if employees are up front with their customers. Even if customers are just heading through the restaurant to get to the patio, masks are required.
"If you have to go to the washroom, if you have to go to your car or have a cigarette, we require you to put your mask back on," she said.
Clappison's business is working hard to follow the masking order, even with some initial resistance from a small percentage of customers.
"With a quick explanation, everyone has been super abiding and very willing, no problems so far," she said.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health officials said they've been gathering feedback on the order from businesses, which is essential for compliance.
Health officials also recommend posting public messaging for customers about the masking policy.
"A standardized messaging that public health provided or sometimes a screener may help," Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health for the area.
The Downtown Guelph Business Association has also offered guidance on specific scenarios.
"If people are on a patio and it starts to rain, are they allowed to go inside?" Executive Director Marty Williams said. "Our public health people say no, they can get a take out container."
Clappison's restaurant has extra masks on hand.
"We do have a supply of masks in case anyone forgets them," she said.
However, Dr. Mercer said businesses are not responsible for providing them.
"Many have face masks or coverings that are their own and there are certainly many for sale or you can make one inexpensively with a scarf, bandana, even a t-shirt," she said.
The mask order doesn't have a specific end date.