Masks are now mandatory in indoor public spaces in Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon — and businesses across Regina say the first day has gone fairly smoothly.
The new provincial public health order was implemented due to a steady increase of COVID-19 cases across the province.
For most Regina business, mandatory masks are very much welcome. In fact, some businesses already had their own mandatory mask policy. But now, the public health order makes that policy government-backed.
Dave Kuzenko, owner of X-Ray Records in downtown Regina, says everyone who came into his store Friday — the first day of the order — wore a mask.
"I can't imagine anybody putting up a fuss about a mask. I do have masks here to give away if anyone needs one.... So far, so good," said Kuzenko.
Kuzenko says people are complying with the order, and other business owners and managers say they have barely had to mention it to their customers.
However, the Cornwall Centre in downtown Regina is having a slightly more difficult time.
No mask, or disregard rule
Travis Lumberjack, a security guard at Cornwall Centre, says 85 per cent of mall-goers comply and put masks on.
"The other 15 per cent or so has either no resources for it or they just completely disregarded it," Lumberjack said.
"A lot of people that we deal with are kind of down on their luck coming to the mall for shelter."
Lumberjack says security advises those who do not have masks that it is important for their's and others' safety. But he says security has no way to enforce the public health order.
"I think it might be a bit of an issue, but as long as we stay vigilant and try to get people on the same track, the [masking] numbers may increase."
Amber Christensen, department head at the Central location for the Regina Public Library, says they have about the same percentage of people who come to the library without a mask.
"This is the first day that they have to. And so it's not normal for them. And so we focus on basically having empathy for everybody that's coming through the door. Saying, 'Yeah, we know they're not the most comfortable. But right now, this is really important for our community," said Christensen.
"If they get a mask, they're generally quite happy to put one on."
The library has masks they can hand out to people who do not have them it works. And they have masks at the front doors and out on the floor for those who do not have them.
Christensen says this approach worked Friday. The only issue they had were that some were wearing masks under their noses. Customer service representatives and staff remind people to cover both their mouth and nose with the mask.
"We really talk about it not being normal for some people here and it's not habit yet. We just need to have empathy for people, at least for the first week."