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Business owners on their own when it comes to mask bylaw enforcement

BRANTFORD (CANADA), June 12, 2020 A notice of face mask wearing requirement for customers is seen outside a store of Lynden Park Mall in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, on June 12, 2020. The province of Ontario allowed most regions outside the Toronto and Hamilton areas to reopen more businesses on Friday during the COVID-19 outbreak, including restaurant patios, hair salons and shopping malls. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua) (Credit Image: © Zou Zheng/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire)

As Ontario municipalities enact new measures regarding the use of masks in commercial locations, business owners are on their own when it comes to dealing with customers who refuse to comply.

On Tuesday, Toronto and Ottawa joined Kingston in establishing rules requiring a non-medical face covering inside buildings of businesses that are open to the public.

The rules come into force amid a handful of social media videos depicting Toronto-area people trying to enter stores or hospitals without masks. In some videos, customers threaten legal complaints.

Toronto’s sample policy, to be used by local businesses, states employees are to be trained on what to do if customers become “aggressive” or request more information on the science of masks.

According to one employment law expert, if a customer refuses to wear a mask, the business cannot ask for proof of an exemption, as doing so could trigger a human rights complaint if the person suffers from a disability.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has previously said the province lacks the capacity to enforce mask bylaws, while a spokesperson for the City of Toronto told The Canadian Press that educating businesses and managers remains a “key objective” of enforcement.