Prominent Hamilton toy store says, ‘stick with masks … it’s a small ask’

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Published March 21, 2022 at 6:51 pm

A well-regarded Hamilton children’s toy store is emphasizing that it needs a mask requirement in order to ensure it can stay open.

Citizen Kid, a popular shop on Locke Street, wrote in a social media post last week that it hopes customers will continue wearing masks. Hamilton city council voted Monday to rescind mandatory face-covering and physical distancing bylaws, following suit the the province’s decision that made masking optional in many public indoor settings.

But the post from Citizen Kid noted that a “run of COVID” would severely hamper the ability of the independent business to keep operating. Citizen Kid also said it would have masks available for a $1 donation to the McMaster Children’s Hospital.

“As a small business, we have much to consider when moving forward with this development — many of our customers are too young to wear masks or be vaccinated, and as a store with only a few staff members we won’t be able to stay open if we catch a run of COVID.

“We want our customers and staff to stay well and healthy, so with that in mind, we’re going to ask that you stick with masks for now when you come to shop with us. We hope you’ll agree it’s a small ask to keep other folks healthy and respect everyone’s needs.

“Please wear a mask when you come to shop. If you forget yours, we’ll have them available for a $1 donation to the children’s hospital. If you choose not to wear a mask, we respectfully ask that you shop online for the time being.”

Children under age 5 are not eligible for a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. In Hamilton, second-dose coverage among children ages 5 to 11 is also progressing faster than first-dose coverage has of late. Thirty-five per cent of children in that age group have had two jabs, and just under 53 per cent have had at least one. (Officially, the tally is 35.01 and 52.90).

Among 12 through 17-year-olds, 12.49 per cent have had three doses of vaccine. That works out to one in eight adolescenes and teenagers.

While Citizen Kid was open about masks being important for their operations, other businesses have been emphasizing that staff will keep masking.

For instance, the Dundurn Market grocery also noted that it is “a small shop” will have workers continue to wear masks.

“Being a small shop and in an effort to continue to protect our staff and community, our staff will continue to wear masks while working inside. We encourage customers to wear masks while shopping however it is not mandatory and we leave that choice up to you,” a post on Dundurn Market’s Instagram said.

Black Knight Games, a hobby shop which is on Mohawk Road East, said its staff will continue masking.

“Staff still will be wearing masks, and customers are encouraged to do so if they feel that is right for them,” Black Knight Games said in an Instagram post. “Masks will continue to be provided for those that could use them at the door, along with hand sanitizer. Customers experiencing COVID symptoms, or who have recently been in direct contact with a confirmed case are asked to stay home and get tested before joining in our event space. Do not attend events if you’re sick!

“This change will come as a relief to some, and will create additional anxieties in others — so please, treat each other with patience, kindness, and understanding.

“We will continue to monitor the situation with local laws and case loads, and we will not hesitate to change our policies if we believe it is the right course of action.”

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