A Rothesay grocer says his rule requiring customers to wear masks in his store will remain in place, possibly for a year or more.
Tim Cochran runs Cochran's Country Market, which sells fruits, vegetables and prepared foods. It also has its own butcher shop and bakery.
"I think this is the course for the next year or so," said Cochran. "We've made up our minds this is the way our business has to be until a vaccine or something changes in the rest of the world. I think this is the new normal for a while."
Cochran said business is down slightly but not enough to tempt him into relaxing restrictions. "Ninety-nine per cent of our customers, they say they love it, they appreciate it, they respect it, and they shop here because of that. Then we have a small percentage that are … that grumble. We've had a few people leave, turn around and say they weren't going to wear a mask. And that's OK." The retailer's vow to stay the course comes at a time when the province has seen few new confirmed cases of the virus.
Even the provincial government's rules are less strict than Cochran's. The current version of the Emergency Order was renewed Friday. "Anyone who finds themselves in any location, other than their own home, in which social distancing as per this Order is not possible, must either remove themselves promptly from the location or must wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose." Those rules, allowing some customers without masks, will apply when Service New Brunswick offices reopen to unscheduled customers Monday.
Members of the public are asked to bring their masks but will likely not be required to wear them. A news release says customers are reminded to keep two metres from others and have a mask with them in case physical distancing cannot be maintained. "The number of people allowed to wait inside air-conditioned waiting rooms will be limited in accordance with Public Health guidelines," says the release.