The former president of the Harbourview Condominium Association on Boblo Island is frustrated with Amherstburg's bylaw enforcement division.
Peter Dunn said a bylaw enforcement officer told him there was little he could do about a teen who refused to wear a face mask in the lobby of the condo, something mandatory under the town's face covering bylaw.
"When I talked to him, he said, 'Well, here's what'll happen. We'll have to call him and we'll ask him if he was wearing a mask. If he says he was, then there's nothing we can do,'" Dunn said.
"I said, then why do we pass a bylaw? We might as well tear down all the signs that we've got. He said, 'If you do you will get a fine,'" said Dunn, who says the condo has had to put up signs requiring face masks in common areas as per the bylaw.
Dunn said the bylaw officer told him if the person has health issues — which they don't have to prove — they don't have to wear a mask.
"That's wrong. How many people need to die in a nursing home down here for this to happen," said Dunn.
The alleged incident happened last Saturday and the bylaw officer didn't come to investigate until Tuesday. Dunn said they have video proof of the incident but the bylaw officer refused to see it.
Dunn is frustrated because he says there are four people with cancer, including himself, who have compromised immune systems and live in the building. Dunn said two residents have already died of COVID-19 so protecting the residents is paramount.
"When you see people die firsthand, this isn't a game anymore," he said.
Dunn has taken the issue up with town councillor Michael Prue who lives on the island. He is vowing to bring the issue of enforcement up at Monday's council meeting.
"I'm disappointed because we were assured that the bylaw would would have some teeth and that the staff would go out and enforce it, and this is the first case that I know of where enforcement was requested and declined," Prue said.
Nicole Rubli, the manager of Licensing and Enforcement for the town says the bylaw enforcement officer spoke to the youth and was assured he would wear his mask in the building from now on.
She said this was the first complaint under the new bylaw passed Aug. 28. She stands behind the bylaw, even though it stipulates no business can demand proof of a medical condition exempting someone from wearing a mask.
"It is in conformity with much of the other bylaws that you find in the province as well as the health unit orders," Rubli said. "We have to be careful with any charter implications that could arise."
She said if a person is given a warning first and is then found to not be in compliance, they could be issued a $300 fine.