Website that lists businesses that still require masks receives love from users, grief from haters

Three-hundred businesses are now listed on Safer Shopping Network, a website designed to pinpoint which retailers still require customers wear masks, and the list is growing.

The governments of both British Columbia and Alberta have lifted their mask mandates, but individual businesses can set their own policies.

The team behind Safer Shopping Network told CTV News Vancouver that the site is meant to be a tool to help anyone who is still wary of shopping without masks, like parents with children who aren’t vaccinated, or anyone who is immunocompromised.

“They don’t really know which places they can go to safely, they don’t know the vaccination status of people, they honestly can’t go about their lives the way everyone else can,” said co-founder Crystal Mundy. “So we started the Safer Shopping Network to do some of the labour for these people.”

She stressed this isn’t meant to be a blacklist of businesses that don’t require masks, but a site that takes away the guessing work.

For the most part, the response has been positive, but Mundy admitted the team received a lot of hateful comments from the anti-mask crowd.

Launched Saturday night, the site initially had a comment box where people could submit useful tips, like which business are allowing customers book appointments, but Mundy said she had to pull it down.

“People were going in and making false entries, and then of course putting harmful content, calling people ‘sheep,’ and telling them not to wear a mask,” she told CTV News from Edmonton. “Every single life is somebody’s somebody, right? And I include myself in there, my grandmother died of COVID in a long-term care facility.”

Mundy is prepared for more vitriol, but vowed to keep the site going, because she feels it’s helping others.

So far only businesses in B.C. and Alberta are listed, but the team plans to add retailers from other provinces when they lift their mask mandates.