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Strang hopes students stop gathering in big groups, says ticketing an option

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As some Nova Scotia high school students gather unmasked in big groups outside of their schools, the province’s top medical official says he wants to stick with an enforcement-light approach for COVID-19 rules, but that tickets could be issued.

Dr. Robert Strang said Public Health recommends wearing masks indoors for Grade 4 and up, and for all students on buses, but it doesn’t require masks when students are outside. However, students are supposed to practice physical distancing when in big groups, as are all Nova Scotians.

He said he’s seen images of high school students gathering outside schools in large groups without masks and little social distancing.

“This will be an ongoing challenge, but like with university students, our high school students we really need them to understand that they’re part of a wider community and they need to take the same steps as everybody else to keep not just themselves safe, but to keep everyone safe,” he said Friday.

He noted that gathering in big groups is “technically” not permitted by the public health order.

“But it’s actually just not a smart thing to do during COVID.”

Strang said if it becomes a problem in the fight against COVID-19, authorities could start ticketing high school students, as they’ve done with some university students who arrived from outside Atlantic Canada but didn’t self-isolate for 14 days.

“We always have the ability to work with our local law enforcement, like we’ve done with the universities. We can lay tickets under the public health order. But we want to take an education and co-operation approach first,” he said.

Schools ask families to reinforce distancing message

No COVID-19 cases have been reported at Nova Scotian schools, which resumed last week after a six-month hiatus caused by the pandemic.

Doug Hadley, spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education, said the first week of school has gone well.

“Generally speaking, students are doing a tremendous job adjusting to the public health measures that are in place to support the return to school,” he said Tuesday.

He said school staff are reminding students about the public health directives such as social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding big gatherings.

“Schools have been communicating with families to reinforce these expectations, especially when students are out of school — before school, at lunchtime and at the end of the day,” Hadley said.

“We believe asking families to take a few minutes to remind students that they have an important role to play in keeping our communities and schools safe will go a long way.”

Deanna Gillis, spokesperson for the Strait Regional Centre for Education, said the return to school has gone well so far.

“As with any changes to school routines, there is a transition period and our staff are working with students to remind them about all of the public health measures that are in place,” she said.

“We will continue to educate and communicate with students and their families about the importance of following the public health measures, including the importance of wearing a mask.”

A spokesperson for the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education said things had gone well there too, and they reminded students to wear a mask and physically distance.

Kristen Loyst, a spokesperson for the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education, said the first week passed without any major problems.

“Students and staff are in the process of transitioning back to school routines, as well as adapting to new public health protocols, after an extended time away,” she said.

“It takes time at the beginning of the year for things to settle, and we know that communication is key to helping everyone understand expectations at school.”

She said school staff are working with students and families to encourage them to follow all of the public health measures designed to keep everyone safe.

 

Source:- CBC.ca

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Video: Woman refuses to wear mask, asked to leave Kelowna LUSH – News 1130

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KELOWNA (NEWS 1130) — A tense exchange filmed at a Kelowna mall shows a woman arguing with staff at a LUSH Cosmetics store after they told her she had to leave because she wasn’t wearing a mask.

The confrontation in Orchard Park Shopping Centre was filmed and posted to social media by the woman and comes at a time when B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers are still high.

The woman refused to wear a mask when she entered the store, then said staff and security were breaching her human rights by not allowing her to browse.

The woman can be heard in the video speaking to a masked security guard.

“Explain to me how my human rights, with my medical condition, I cannot walk through a store when it’s totally fine for me to walk through a store.”

When asked to provide a medical note, the woman said she didn’t need to and instead said she could show her “puffer,” before saying that was none of the security guard’s business.

While there isn’t a provincial mandate on masks, they are encouraged to slow the spread of COVID-19.

But it is a policy for the store and has been since mid-July.

A spokesperson for LUSH tells NEWS 1130 they support how the staff handled the situation calmly and compassionately, and remain committed to ensuring the policy is followed.

“The health and safety of our staff and community remains top priority as we continue to navigate these challenging times together.”

The camera later pans over slightly to show three staff members, also wearing masks, and the woman accuses them of harassment.

“All I’m doing is looking in LUSH,” she says.

Staff suggest the woman instead shop online, but she refuses, saying “I want to browse here in the store.”

After multiple requests, the security guard says they might have to call the police if the woman doesn’t leave. He reminds her it is private property and she had been told to go.

Once the woman is given the number for the head office, she turns to leave.

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Woman refuses to wear mask at LUSH, films altercation

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[embedded content]

A Lake Country woman claims she was the victim of “commie intimidation” after she was asked to leave Kelowna’s LUSH Cosmetics Thursday for refusing to wear a mask.

In a video that is not publicly available on her Facebook page, Susan Roth Drazdoff Faechner is seen arguing with a security guard and three female employees after she was refused service and told to leave LUSH for refusing to wear a face covering – which is company policy.

In the video, she describes the employees’ conduct as “commie intimidation.”

“I have the right to say no to a mask,” Faechner told Castanet. “I went in for an anniversary present for my husband. I picked up one thing I was going to buy. I turned around, I was ready to go, and security is there asking for my medical information.”

In the video, the security guard asks Faechner for a medical note after she tells him she can’t wear a mask due to her medical condition. When Faechner declines, the security guard explains that it’s store policy for customers to wear a face covering while inside. When Faechner argues the store is “public property to walk on,” the security guard says it is, in fact, private property.

“I know the law, and I know my constitutional human rights,” she says to the security guard.

“I felt like I was under, I don’t want to sound dramatic, but it was like great grievous bodily mental harm,” Faechner told Castanet. “Not that they were going to beat me up, but it was causing me extreme stress. When they came up to me it was like holy cow, I’m under attack and I’m all alone.

“This is like communism like, ‘you get out otherwise we call the police.’ Thats intimidation.”

Faechner says after the video ended she left peacefully as she didn’t want to escalate the situation further.

LUSH Kelowna manager Spence Dagneau says the incident with Faechner was one of the first times a customer has gotten upset about the mask policy.

“[The staff members] were pretty shaken up for the rest of the day but we have a really small, tight-knit group here and they’re all feeling pretty confident again today so its nice to see,” Dagneau said.

All LUSH stores across North America mandated face coverings on July 18, 2020.

“Shoppers who wish to enter a store but do not have their own face covering will be provided with one, or can choose contactless ordering instead by remaining outside the store while staff assist,” the LUSH website states. “The change comes following new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, along with our ongoing commitment to the safety of our customers, staff and overall community.”

Other retailers like Walmart and Real Canadian Superstore have also chosen to mandate the use of masks inside their stores.

But, echoing sentiments from a vocal minority in the community, Faechner says the mask rules infringe on her human rights.

“Masks are a freedom of choice,” she says. “Wear it, or don’t. Know your information, know what you’re talking about. You shouldn’t blindly wear a mask because some organization is telling you to do it.”

Faechner says after the incident she went to a different store in the shopping centre and was given service without a mask. She says she’ll no longer be shopping at LUSH stores.

“I call myself a Christ crusader and people with faith, they don’t just outright lie because they have a creator that they have to answer to at some point,” she says. “I’m not going to outright lie, I just think something’s happened to humans where we’ve just lost our sense of humanity.”

Faechner acknowledges the COVID-19 virus exists, but doesn’t trust the numbers of cases and deaths published by the government. To date, 223 British Columbians have died from COVID-19.

Source: – Kelowna News – Castanet.net

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Restaurateurs speak out against anti-mask patrons mistreating staff – CBC.ca

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Stephen Deere, owner of Modern Steak, says that when it comes to Calgary’s bylaw mandating face coverings in indoor public spaces, he thinks he jinxed himself.

“I was kind of bragging to my friends in the restaurant community that we’ve had almost no problems, at all,” Deere said. “But the last 24 to 48 hours, things have gotten worse.”

Servers at Modern Steak restaurant wear masks, as mandated by the bylaw. In response, one patron took to social media to attempt to trend #BoycottModernSteak online — but Deere said another incident was much more serious.

“Basically, it’s going to move forward in a legal fashion, that’s how bad it was. I can’t talk about it,” he said.

“But that should sound the alarm … we’re at the point that we’re having discussions, if the last 48 hours continue moving forward, we have to actually consider having security in our restaurants to keep our employees safe.”

Calgary council voted earlier this month to keep masks mandatory for now, with an update coming in December. Masks have also been mandatory in Edmonton in public spaces since Aug. 1.

Fines can be issued and AHS has the power to close businesses and restaurants for non-compliance.

“We’re in a democracy, and I believe you have the right to have your opinion and you have the right to protest,” Deere said. “But when you’re taking it out on the front-line workers and retail and hospitality, and they’re feeling threatened up to the point that violence could occur, it’s time to ring the alarm.

“We are not making the rules. We are following the rules.”

Varied experiences

By and large, Ernie Tsu, owner of Trolley 5 on 17th Avenue S.W. in Calgary, said most issues relating to the bylaw are solved at the door before guests enter the brewpub.

But given his role with the Alberta Hospitality Association, he knows restaurants across Alberta have experienced issues. 

“The concerns are related to the bad apples out there that refuse to follow the mandate,” Tsu said. “The people causing issues at restaurants are also the people that are causing issues in malls and any public spaces that they’re deemed to wear a mask in.”

Ernie Tsu, owner of Trolley 5, said people who don’t understand what has been mandated by the government should not frequent local restaurants at this time. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Brett Ireland, CEO of Bear Hill Brewing — which operates establishments in Banff, Jasper, Calgary and Fort McMurray — said most guests have been compliant with local policies.

“We have had a number of guests who choose not to wear them because they have pre-existing conditions,” Ireland said. “That’s what they tell us, and certainly we’re not in a position to make a judgment on that.”

Ireland said whether or not patrons agree with the mask bylaws from a political standpoint, there are other reasons to comply with the bylaw.

“The other way to look at it for me is, it makes other people more comfortable and therefore more likely to participate in the economy,” Ireland said. “I just don’t see how there’s any net negative to it.”

‘Disgusted and utterly upset’

Deere said his restaurant was already having issues with staffing amidst the pandemic, and harassment from customers has exacerbated that struggle. 

“In our business, many of our hostesses are younger women that are 18 to 22,” he said. “When a larger, older gentleman is threatening them, they don’t come back to work the next day.”

As a born and raised Calgarian, Deere said he was “disgusted and utterly upset” with the behaviour of some patrons — and urged those who disagreed with the bylaw to take their concerns elsewhere.

“Calgary is better than this. We have been known around the world, and definitely in Canada, as one of the friendliest cities,” he said.

“We help people out, we have a western hospitality spirit, and this is how we’re acting? It’s unbelievable that we’ve gone in this direction.”

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