Some Sask. retailers making masks optional for customers as province lifts COVID-19 restrictions
PRINCE ALBERT -- Business owners across Saskatchewan are making their own decisions on whether or not to continue mandating COVID-19 prevention measures, with the province lifting restrictions on Sunday.
While some businesses in Prince Albert are still requiring masks, others are leaving that decision up to their customers and employees — like Twilight Framing and Sports Gallery in the Gateway Mall.
Owner and operator Lisa Mattice said the business is still leaving hand sanitizer at the door and continuing with enhanced cleaning protocols. However, she said her employees and customers are free to work or shop maskless.
“As long as the traffic is not real heavy, I’m more than happy to not be wearing my mask. I think we’ll see what happens in the fall. (I’ll) probably, maybe wear my mask over Christmas again, just because there’s a lot more traffic,” said Mattice.
“It’s hard to say what the numbers are going to be like then, too.”
Mattice said if customers come in and feel more comfortable with employees wearing masks, they’ll put them on.
Twilight Framing and Sports Gallery sells sports memorabilia and apparel and does custom picture framing, mostly jersey framing, she said.
Denniss Adam shops there regularly for sports gear. At first, he said, he wasn’t sure if he would wear a mask or not.
“I was thinking about it yesterday — should I wear my mask Monday, all week? And then I thought ‘Nah, forget it,’” said Adam.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
Scentiments Floral has been operating throughout the pandemic. Even during the initial lockdown, when non-essential businesses were forced to close, the local business still offered delivery services.
One of the owners, Stacy Coburn, said she’s also not mandating masks in the store.
“I think people are going to enjoy the freedom of having to choose or not to choose,” she said.
Coburn said pre-pandemic, she often delivered sympathy and get-well flowers to people’s homes or hospital rooms. She said the province lifting restrictions has given her hope that she can start delivering floral arrangements like normal again.
“It just felt very impersonal,” said Coburn about contactless delivery.
“I think most people were finding you were losing that human contact. You kind of were craving it.”
Like Mattice, Coburn said she keeps her mask close in case a customer feels more comfortable with her wearing a face covering.
The provincial government lifted COVID-19 restrictions based on 70 per cent of residents ages 12 and over getting their first dose of the vaccine.