As the end of the mask mandate approaches, Danforth Avenue businesses report mixed feelings.
When mask mandates end on March 21, private businesses will still have the right to require masking on their premises if they wish.
For businesses owners, this presents a choice that is not necessarily a simple one.
The situation is a “double-edged sword,” says Rick Camacho, owner of The Vanity Co. salon.
“A part of me is very tired of wearing masks and so I’m ready to take mine off,” he says. “But then there’s another part of me that just thinks it’s a little too soon.”
Aside from their personal feelings on the matter, businesses also must anticipate how their customers will feel about their decision.
“I’m just uneasy at the moment,” Camacho says. “I don’t know how my clients are going to feel.”
Despite the upcoming lifting of the mandate, there are still some mixed messages.
Some health experts have also questioned whether it is too early to end mandatory masking inside businesses.
Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore has said wearing a mask is still a good idea, even if it isn’t legally required.
“Removing the mask mandate does not mean the risk is gone,” said Moore while announcing the changes. “Covid-19 is still transmitting, and masks can protect you and others around you becoming infected.”
According to a survey from The Angus Reid Institute, 61 per cent of Ontario residents support the lifting of restrictions.
At the same time, support remains for the continuation of some public health measures.
Seventy-five per cent of Ontarians reported they support wearing a mask in public indoor spaces.
While those opposed to masking may be smaller in number, they can be extremely vocal.
Camacho hopes that, no matter what his clients’ beliefs are, everyone can be respected and accommodated.
“Everybody is entitled to do what they want to do,” he says. “If you would feel more comfortable with me putting on my mask during your service, I will.”
This means that he will not be making clients who do not want to wear a mask do so.
“After the couple of years that we’ve had to, we just cannot afford to turn away any bit of business, whether you wear a mask or not.”
More information on the lifting of mask mandates can be found on the City of Toronto website.