Ottawa Public Health has spoken up! In a post on July 8, the health agency urged frustrated members of the public to stop harassing store cashiers and employees about mandatory mask wearing in Ottawa. “Civility & respect are needed in public places,” they said. 

In a tweet shared on Wednesday July 8, just one day after masks became mandatory in public indoor spaces, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reminded locals where to take their criticisms.

Urging Ottawans to stop harassing store staff and employees about the new rule, the agency asked for all criticism to be directed to them instead.

“Hello. We’d like to address something: mandatory masks were NOT ordered by the cashier at your grocery store,” Ottawa Public Health began.

Referring to the city’s new mandatory mask rule, which came into effect on Tuesday, OPH asked residents of Ottawa to direct their frustrations with the issue elsewhere.

“We understand some of you are upset, but please direct your feedback towards us & not at businesses/employees."

"Like masks, civility & respect are needed in public places,” they added.

The health agency has been asking residents to wear face coverings in public for several weeks, explaining that doing so reduces the risk of transmitting COVID-19. 

On July 7, it became mandatory to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces in Ottawa, a policy that is enforced in "good faith."

While OPH didn’t detail any specific examples of the harassment faced by staff, multiple instances of such frustration have already been spotted across Canada.

In Mississauga, a man went on a huge racist rant in a grocery store when he was asked to leave a store for not wearing a mask.

In Bloor Fruit Market, a woman shouted threats at store staff for refusing to allow her entry without a face covering.

Another person was actually escorted out of a Toronto hospital, after she was refused to put on a mask and an argument ensued.

Responding to Ottawa Public Health’s post, multiple Ottawans agreed with the sentiment of their message.

One person asked, “How are people really gonna clap for essential workers and thank them a few months ago and now show up at their work and scream at them about something that's out of their control?”

Don't forget to mask up, Ottawa!

*This article's cover is for illustrative purposes only.