2 Stores That Required Shoppers To Wear A Mask Did Not Violate Human Rights, Tribunal Rules

A medical exemption doesn't allow people to "simply do what they please."

Western Canada Editor
2 Stores That Required Shoppers To Wear A Mask Did Not Violate Human Rights, Tribunal Rules

Store policies that make it a requirement for shoppers to wear a mask do not violate human rights, a tribunal has said.

In two new decisions, B.C.'s Human Rights Tribunal dismissed complaints against Lululemon in Vancouver and Creatures Pet Store in Victoria. Both cases involved stores that had introduced their own mask policy before the provincial mask mandate came into effect.

In the first case, Yvonne Coelho, who filed the complaint, entered a Lululemon store in Vancouver in November 2020 without wearing a face mask. When asked to wear a face covering by the assistant manager, Coelho refused, saying she had a medical "exemption" while also filming the conversation. Staff at the store told her she couldn't shop there without a mask and offered her the option to shop online.

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal chair Emily Ohler said that while there may be medical exemptions preventing a person from wearing a mask, it doesn't allow them to "simply do what they please" in a store that requires shoppers to wear a face covering.

"The fact that Ms. Coelho said that she could not wear a mask did not give her an 'exemption' from the mask policy that allowed her to simply disregard it and enjoy unfettered, maskless physical access to Lululemon's stores, which is what she appeared to assert in the video," Ohler wrote.

In a second complaint, Karleigh-Laurel Ratchford claims she was discriminated against "on the basis of disability" after staff at the Creatures Pet Store in Victoria denied her entry without a mask.

Ratchford visited the store in August 2020 and was offered a $5 face shield as an alternative to a mask and also told she could use curbside pickup.

She refused both options and, according to staff, then raised her voice, telling employees that the store's mask policy was breaking the law.

Ohler also dismissed this case, saying the store had "discharged its duty to accommodate" Ratchford.

In both decisions, the tribunal says that mask policies are not violating human rights as long as they are there to protect staff and fellow shoppers and that other alternatives such as delivery or curbside pickup are available.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

If you're a die-hard Raptors fan, you'll want to start wearing your mask properly if you want to watch the entire game. Scotiabank Arena has started to crack down on mask mandates and is kicking people out of the venue who aren't following the rules.

According to the Toronto Star, the number of Raptors fans ejected from the arena saw a slight uptick this week after 17 non-compliers were kicked out during the team's Tuesday faceoff against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Keep Reading Show less

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just shortened the recommended isolation period for some people who test positive for COVID-19, as more information comes in about the new Omicron variant.

People in the U.S. who are asymptomatic are now being told to self-isolate for five days instead of the previous 10-day period, the CDC said in a news release on Monday.

Keep Reading Show less

Ontario Provincial Police charged a teenager with four separate counts after they pulled a weapon on an employee that reminded them to put on their mask.

In the early morning hours of December 20, just shortly after 3 a.m., OPP officers with the Southern Georgian Bay detachment said they got a call from a retail store on Midland Avenue in Midland, Ontario.

Keep Reading Show less

Toronto's Face Mask Rules Have Officially Been Extended Until Next Year

You might want to invest in a value pack of face masks.

It's time to stock up on face masks. The Toronto City Council has just approved the extension of mask bylaws until January 2022.

According to a press release, the City of Toronto's temporary mask bylaws and COVID-19 amendments to Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings were officially extended on October 1.

Keep Reading Show less