Local businesses prepared for the return of the city-wide mask mandate by reminding patrons that rules will be enforced as of Sept. 3, but they also voiced concerns about customer reactions to the latest COVID-19 restrictions.
City council's 9-2 decision to reinstate the masking rules that were lifted July 1 applies to all indoor areas accessible by the public including retail stores, entertainment venues, restaurants, and recreation facilities.
Edmonton Independent Hospitality Community co-chair Kris Harvey said operators are seeing increasing pushback from guests who will now face a potential $100 fine. "It's super, super challenging and a lot of us in the hospitality industry are on board with saying yes, there are further measures that need to be in place so we are able to have safe environments, but we do need to make sure that we're not the ones holding all the responsibility to enforce it, police it and putting our staff and our businesses at risk," he told the Edmonton Journal.
The Old Strathcona Business Association asked visitors to the area to be patient with staff getting up to speed on changes, while West Edmonton Mall updated its webpage to caution that restrictions extend to washrooms and only allow "brief removal of mask or face covering when sipping a beverage or eating, engaging in water activities or physical exercise, and for children age two and under."