Workers in Brampton tired of dealing with angry customers who refuse to wear masks

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Published October 7, 2021 at 11:27 am

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As the pandemic approaches two full years, many Brampton residents have become frustrated with persistent restrictions.

Recently, a Brampton resident described an encounter they experienced at the Sobey’s located at 930 North Park Drive during which another customer refused to wear a mask, despite the store’s policy requiring them to do so.

“Found a middle-aged white woman wandering around the wine section without a mask on. When I saw her, I mentioned they have them for free at the front desk to which she replied: ‘I don’t want or need one,’” the user shared on the Brampton Reddit page.

The user added that they brought it up to the cashier, who refused to do anything out of fear of verbal or possibly even physical harassment.

Due to the current regulations in place, many businesses—both essential and non-essential—have been left to enforce provincial restrictions on their own, oftentimes meaning minimum wage workers and teenagers (many of whom are working their first-ever jobs), are forced to deal with irate would-be customers who don’t want to follow the rules.

“Usually people who don’t want to wear a mask say they have a ‘medical exemption,’ which I know is fake, but I can’t do anything about it,” a Brampton resident who works at Winners and wished to be identified only as Jesse said in an interview.

“I’ve had two separate jobs during the pandemic, both of them are part-time and pay minimum wage,” said another Brampton resident who wished to remain anonymous. “My first job was at a grocery store and many customers were especially resistant to wearing masks.”

“I used to hate going to work because every day I would have to interact with people who are pulling their masks down to speak to me, constantly ignoring social distancing and getting annoyed when I would tell them to back up or keep their masks on. It got extremely frustrating and emotionally exhausting to deal with, and that job provided no support for employees,” they said.

According to Dr. Lawrence Loh, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel, nearly 200,000 more residents in the Region still need to get vaccinated in order to reach 90 per cent coverage, and allow for restrictions to be further reduced.

However, vaccine opposition and hesitancy have caused a significant drop in rates, as most people who aren’t opposed to getting vaccinated have already done so.

If vaccination rates continue to stagnate, it will likely mean many more weeks and months with mask mandates, which could mean more unnecessary stress for employees who are left to enforce them.

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