Starting Friday, the province of Saskatchewan has made the use of non-medical masks in indoor public spaces a requirement in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.
The move comes as no surprise to the owner of Museo Coffee Roasters in Saskatoon.
“We kind of saw it coming for a while, just watching what Alberta has been doing,” said Jimmy Oneschuk. “It's probably a good thing, we want to avoid a shutdown.”
People who oppose this ruling may be few and far between, says Oneschuk, but they do exist.
"Like maybe one in a hundred of our customers that we get might have a problem with it,” he said. "I'll be like, 'Hey man I got some free masks here if you want one', and just try to be as chummy about it as possible. No need to get hot or aggressive with it, and if they don't like it then we'll figure it out and go from there, but we haven't had to cross that bridge yet.”
Dawn Mills is the manager at Nutters Everyday Naturals, and says she’s “happy to see” the province make masks mandatory, but says not everyone will agree.
“For the most part what we're seeing is that people are respecting each other and coming into the store with masks on, so we're not seeing issues here, and I'm foreseeing that we're not going to see any issues here," she said.
"My feeling is that it's not really my place to make a call on whether or not that person falls into an exempt category. I'm going to rely more on the goodness of the individual person and that if they tell me that they are exempt, that we are going to believe that."
The rule applies for common areas of condo and apartment buildings, lobbies — and even while taking a cab or using a ridesharing service.
Under the order, mask use is not mandatory in these locations:
- Workplaces to which the public does not have access; unless masks are mandated by the workplace
- Private homes and residences except for service workers and visitors
- Private areas of long-term care homes, personal care homes, group homes, and assisted living
- Private resident areas of communal living, hospitality and workplace accommodations
Masks can be removed in restaurants and bars while eating or drinking while seated in designated areas.
Only children under two years of age, people engaged in exercise or anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance are exempt from the new public health order.
The province has provided multiple examples of locations where masks are required:
- All healthcare facilities
- All long-term care, personal care homes and assisted living facilities
- Medical service centres and offices
- Retail businesses
- Shopping centres and malls
- Personal services businesses, such as hair and nail salons, spas, body art facilities, except during services that require removing a mask
- Places for cultural or entertainment services or activities, such as movie theatres, arcades, concerts and other performances
- Places for sports and recreational activities, such as a gym, ice arena, pool, gymnastic facility, dance facility or indoor court or field facility, except while participating in physical exertion
- Places for events, such as conferences and receptions
- Municipal, provincial or federal government locations offering services to the public
- Common areas of tourist accommodations, such as lobbies, elevators and hallways
- Common areas of office buildings, such as lobbies, elevators and hallways, but not private offices
- Common areas of condo and apartment buildings, such as lobbies, elevators and hallways, but not the private apartment or condo itself.
- Public areas of a university or college campus, such as library or student union building, classrooms, hallways and other common areas, but not labs, offices or residences (dormitories)
- Train or bus stations, ferry terminals and airports
- Public transport, including cabs, rideshare services and carpooling.