Face masks were big sellers across Tillsonburg on Friday, the day mandatory face coverings in enclosed public spaces became a reality in the Oxford-Elgin region.
Options include many colours and styles, including unisex designer masks available at Trinkets Gift Shoppe.
“My masks are Canadian made by Rapz Lifestyle Clothing,” said Trinkets’ owner Carrianne Hall. “They are all designer materials. They’re lined with organic tightly-woven cotton, suggested by Health Canada. They have a sleeve available if you want to insert a filter. They have the non-pull elastic for the ears. They are washable, you just hang them to dry. And they have the nice form-fitting metal in the nose, so your glasses don’t steam up.
“I’ve sold about 100 of them today (Friday).”
A list of local retail face mask suggestions on The News’ Facebook page included Ardene; Betty’s Consignment; Canadian Tire; Coward PharmaChoice; Creative Wanderer; Goodwill Community Store; Grand Medical Supply; Home Hardware Building Centre; IDA – Tillsonburg Care Pharmacy; Indigo Lounge; Metro; Moffat & Powell RONA; Onwards Thrift & Consignment Store; Shoppers Drug Mart; SS Brand It; Staples; Tillsonburg BIA; Tillsonburg Sewing Group; Tranquility Spa & Salon; Trinkets Gift Shoppe; TSC Store; Urban Wheel; Walmart; as well as numerous individuals.
“We are the only ones that sell them at cost,” noted Mark Renaud, executive director, Tillsonburg BIA, who can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-550-3780.
“I deliver them every day – I just sold 200 to The Anchor Shoppe. We’ve bought with a bulk order through Medpoint (Health Care Centre), which is one of our BIA members. So the BIA bought 5,000 and we’re going to continue to buy from them.
“The biggest problem our members have is getting reliable supply of PPE. And now that Southwestern Public Health has implemented the mandatory mask covering for indoors, what we’re finding now is that there is even more of a demand for it.
“It’s going to help shut COVID down.”
There are some exemptions including children under 2; children under 5 if they cannot be persuaded to wear one; people with health conditions that make it difficult to wear one; people in situations where a face covering would limit the ability to breathe (such as swimming); and people who cannot put on or remove a face covering without help.
And then there are some people just don’t want to wear them.
“It’s a political divide. It’s people that believe in personal liberty that are the ones that have a personal issue with it. But I refer back to one thing – there’s rules for driving, seat belts; there’s rules for doctor protocol, scrubbing. In every profession there are rules. Safety boots, high visibility wear. There’s a drinking age, there’s a driving age. This is just an extension of that, it’s public health.
“I understand that people think it’s a violation of their rights, but we live in a society where there are rules and regulations. So I have no issue with it, and I think neither do the vast majority, 90-plus per cent.”
Initially, Southwestern Public Health is starting with an educational and supportive approach. In time there will be a possibility of fines for non-compliance, and they are potentially severe – $750-$1,000, up to a maximum of $100,000 for individuals, while corporations may be liable for a fine up to $10,000,000 for each day or part of each day on which the offence occurs.
“The way the law is written, it’s the business owner that gets fined if there is a lack of compliance,” said Renaud.