Waterloo Region businesses get ready as mandatory mask bylaw comes into effect
WATERLOO -- Business owners have been getting ready for the mandatory face covering bylaw in Waterloo Region, which comes into effect Monday.
People are now be required to wear a face covering on Grand River Transit and in indoor public places, with just a few exemptions.
Children under five years old, those with medical conditions, and people in particular situation-specific circumstances are not required to wear a mask, and no proof is needed for those with a medical condition.
Rakesh Patel, director of Upper Village Market in Kitchener, spent part of his Sunday with signs reminding customers of the requirements.
He adds that he’s noticed them wearing masks more over the last few days.
“If they are not wearing then I’ll tell them politely that they have to wear the mask, it would be much appreciated,” Patel said.
Patel says he’s not worried about the bylaw, as enforcement does not sit on his shoulders.
“This is a small neighbourhood,” he said. “It’s part of the family. Everybody supports each other.”
The Region of Waterloo says they are rolling out the bylaw with an education-first approach.
“We are really focusing this on the goodwill of people and them doing the right thing,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “In the early days we’re also asking people not to phone in, asking regional bylaw people to come out and enforce it.”
Businesses have the option of turning away customers if they’re not wearing a face covering, and Luxe Nail Bar in Waterloo is doing just that.
Clients have to book an appointment and are told about the policy ahead of time.
“When we talk to them we just said it’s for the safety of everybody,” said co-owner Kyle Varga.
The owners recommend that other personal care services who aren’t appointment-based adopt a similar model to avoid confrontation.
“Hopefully it’s a temporary situation that’s going on,” said co-owner Andrew Vojdani. “During this time we may have to give up a little bit, but it’s just to make sure everybody’s safe.”