One Estevan manager is pleased the law is on their side when it comes to enforcement of the province's mask mandate.
Earlier this week, a 37-year-old man from Griffin, Sask., was ticketed for not wearing a mask inside of the community's Walmart. A news release from Estevan police said the incident happened on March 29.
Ivy Mababa, the general manager at Eddie Webster's Kitchen and Bar, said hearing about the ticket was welcome news.
"As a person working in the restaurant industry, it really helps and makes us comfortable doing our job well, especially implementing the mask mandate, because we know the law is on our side," she said.
While working through the COVID-19 pandemic, she said her staff are feeling the pressure, as alongside ensuring people are safe while they dine, they're also dealing with those who are in denial about the global pandemic.
"I know for a fact that some people still do not believe in COVID, do not believe in masking," she said. "They even tell us that it's their right as a Canadian citizen not to wear masks."
A statement from the Estevan Police Service indicated the man was charged when an employee at the store called police after he refused to wear a mask while shopping.
"The individual was spoken to by a number of staff and then management and continued to refuse to do as asked," the statement explained.
"It's not us, it's for your own sake — for your safety and for your pocket as well."
- Ivy Mababa, general manager at Eddie Webster's Kitchen and Bar
The man was then asked to leave, but would not, at which time the statement explained he "invited the store staff to call the police." That's when police arrived and issued the man a Summary Offence Ticket for failing to wear a mask in a public place.
A spokesman from Walmart Canada said in a statement it's aware of the incident at the Estevan location, and reiterated that "safety continues to be a top priority at Walmart." The store will continue with its safety measures including mandatory masks, increased cleaning and limiting in-store population, the spokesman wrote.
Mababa says it's important members of the public know there will be action if they choose to ignore the provincial health orders at local businesses.
"I have so much confidence now," she said, noting refusal to wear a mask could jeopardize their health or their bank account.
"It's easier for us to tell the customer you have to pay the consequences if you don't wear a mask. It's not us, it's for your own sake — for your safety and for your pocket as well."
The 37-year-old man is set to appear in Estevan Provincial Court on the morning of June 16 to answer for the ticket.