I write to express my concern that in an effort to comply with current COVID-19 safety measures, we are losing our sense of what is reasonable, and also our compassion towards others. A recent experience at our local Brown’s Pharmacy in Walkerton brought this to light in a significant way for me.
To my knowledge, masks are currently mandatory while indoors in Grey-Bruce, however those with medical or other applicable conditions are exempt from this mandate. No proof of exemption is necessary, and according to the Public Health Unit, it is not necessary for businesses to turn away customers in an effort to acheive ‘perfect’ compliance with mask-wearing.
Suppose a customer with a very visible medical condition came into a store to purchase treatment for that medical condition, and complied with other measures including physical distancing, hand sanitizing, and respecting limits on number of customers allowed to enter. Suppose that customer, after being approached by multiple staff members insisting that a mask be worn or they would be ushered out of the store, tried to comply and put on a mask, only to become visibly distressed and anxious. Suppose that customer was made to stand outside while staff did her shopping, and then the staff again insisted the mask be worn in order for her to complete the purchase inside the store. The message was clear, wear the mask no matter what, regardless of your health and well-being, or you are not welcome here.
If we as a society are really ‘#inittogether’ for the sake of our health and well-being, then shouldn’t we show compassion for the health and well-being of all people even in circumstances not necessarily pertaining to COVID-19? It seems to me that my health and well-being were of little consequence, and what mattered more was compliance to the public health mandate.
And what about our ability to reason? The fact of the matter is that people are not sick from the Coronavirus in Bruce-Grey! There are however, other physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health conditions present in our community. Don’t they matter? Why is such forceful insistance on mask-wearing necessary? In my opinion, it is possible to comply with Public Health Unit guidelines, without losing our sense of reason, compassion, and respect for others as human beings.
Needless to say, I am going to take my business to other places that are more considerate in how they treat their customers.