Masks may be mandatory in grocery stores and other retail sites in B.C., but it’s unclear who is supposed to enforce that policy.
Richmond shopper Steve Fairbairn said he encountered three people shopping at a particular grocery store recently not wearing masks — despite a prominent sign stating “Face covering required” at the entrance, where a security guard was standing.
Fairbairn said he inquired at the customer service desk why the security guard was not enforcing the policy and was told only store managers could ask customers to a wear mask. The security guard doesn’t have the authority to do so.
The Richmond News has reached out to numerous large chains including Save-On Foods, Walmart, Costco, T&T and London Drugs regarding their policy of enforcing the mask mandate but none chose to reply.
A staff at a local independent grocery store told the Richmond News the security guards at her store are expected to deny customers entry if they adamantly refuse to put on a mask.
“For children and seniors who don’t have any face covering, we will provide them with a mask. But for people who don’t comply with those regulations intentionally, they will be denied entry to the store,” said Coonie Huang, at Supermarket 2000 at Continental Shopping Centre near Aberdeen Centre.
She added that people with medical exemptions to the mask mandate are encouraged to carry a doctor’s note with them.
However, she noted that despite there being a provincial mandate, who is expected to confront an uncompliant customer depends on store policy.
Huang added it is also unclear who is expected to issue the $230 penalty.
Huang shared a notice provided by the Continental Shopping Centre’s management team earlier this week saying that “masks are mandatory, violators are subject to $230 fine.”
“Although we received the notice from the mall’s management team, we are confused regarding who is allowed to issue the penalty,” said Huang.
The guidelines from the provincial government aren’t solid at the moment. We hope to be given more clear guidelines shortly.”
In fact, only the RCMP have the authority to actually issue a $230 ticket for violating the mandate in Richmond.