Flamborough businesses coping with mandatory mask bylaw

News Sep 10, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

Since the City of Hamilton passed a bylaw mandating mandatory mask in all business in late July, Flamborough businesses have been dealing with the new reality.

While customers needed to adjust to the new regulations, business owners and employees also had to learn to wear them and for extended periods of time — and some businesses have had an easier time adjusting than others.

“It’s horrible, we’re hating every minute of it because we talk all day long," said Elaine Eaton, the co-owner of Chews Raw Pet Food on Dundas Street in Waterdown. "We’re finding we’re super thirsty, exhausted, it’s just exhausting talking with a mask on all the time."

Eaton explained that while she understands the reasoning behind the masks, because of people constantly repositioning their masks, it almost negates wearing them.

However, she said the vast majority of customers have worn masks.

“It’s been good actually, I would say most people are wearing them — maybe 98 per cent of people are wearing them."

Meanwhile, at Sweet Paradise Bakery and Delicatessen, not much has changed for the staff, even with the mask bylaw.

The store never ceased operations throughout the shutdown and most of the customers — save those who claim medical exemptions — have been adhering to the policy, Sweet Paradise's Richard Asselin told the Review in July. However, he said it is a delicate balance when dealing with customers who aren't wearing a mask.

"We get the odd one or two customers that come in without it,” said Asselin. “You've got to say something to them, some of them don’t like it.

"So it’s a fine line, because you don’t want to upset that customer, they still are your customer."

As of July 20, all businesses and indoor public spaces required those in the city to wear masks. While the City of Hamilton would not enforce the mask policies of businesses, it would only deal with issues in the bylaw.

As for the service industry, Chris Gonsowski, co-owner of Impeccable Pools on Dundas Street said he and his staff have it a bit easier than most.

“Luckily for us service guys, we’re on the road all the time," he said. "We only really have to wear masks if we’re going into gas stations or going to get lumber supplies.

“So, we have them in our trucks and then we stick to tight crews so it’s not like we’re switching crews all the time, it’s the same two guys together all the time.”

Gonsowski added the customers have been compliant with the bylaw and staff have been working to ensure that they too have been adhering to the bylaw.

“We haven’t had much of an issue,” said Gonsowski.

He explained the store has a Plexiglas barrier that allows the workers behind the counter the freedom to work without a mask and only don one when they need to come out to deal with things outside or elsewhere in the shop.

“We’ve been doing a lot of things like limiting the amount of customers in the store," he said. "There’s like a two-customer limit per time just for space purposes.”

Eaton said Chews has found alternative materials — such as neoprene — make mask wearing more bearable. They are also buying and selling masks to give to visitors who come in.

In fact, she said, the business has sold a couple hundred masks, which they sell at cost.

“(Making a profit) wasn’t the point of it, it was just to get people an option," she said of the mask sales.

Meanwhile, at Sweet Paradise, Asselin said he expects to continue wearing a mask through the fall, but is concerned about the future.

“My biggest fear is there is a second wave,” he said. “I mean we’ve seen it all over the world and if we go back to a lockdown again what’s it going to do to businesses?”

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: After the City of Hamilton mandated mandatory masks in businesses in late July, we wanted to check in with businesses in Flamborough to see how the rule had impacted them.

Flamborough businesses coping with mandatory mask bylaw

Alternative materials have made things easier for some employees

News Sep 10, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

Since the City of Hamilton passed a bylaw mandating mandatory mask in all business in late July, Flamborough businesses have been dealing with the new reality.

While customers needed to adjust to the new regulations, business owners and employees also had to learn to wear them and for extended periods of time — and some businesses have had an easier time adjusting than others.

“It’s horrible, we’re hating every minute of it because we talk all day long," said Elaine Eaton, the co-owner of Chews Raw Pet Food on Dundas Street in Waterdown. "We’re finding we’re super thirsty, exhausted, it’s just exhausting talking with a mask on all the time."

Eaton explained that while she understands the reasoning behind the masks, because of people constantly repositioning their masks, it almost negates wearing them.

“It’s horrible, we’re hating every minute of it because we talk all day long." — Elaine Eaton, Chews Raw Pet Food

However, she said the vast majority of customers have worn masks.

“It’s been good actually, I would say most people are wearing them — maybe 98 per cent of people are wearing them."

Meanwhile, at Sweet Paradise Bakery and Delicatessen, not much has changed for the staff, even with the mask bylaw.

The store never ceased operations throughout the shutdown and most of the customers — save those who claim medical exemptions — have been adhering to the policy, Sweet Paradise's Richard Asselin told the Review in July. However, he said it is a delicate balance when dealing with customers who aren't wearing a mask.

"We get the odd one or two customers that come in without it,” said Asselin. “You've got to say something to them, some of them don’t like it.

"So it’s a fine line, because you don’t want to upset that customer, they still are your customer."

As of July 20, all businesses and indoor public spaces required those in the city to wear masks. While the City of Hamilton would not enforce the mask policies of businesses, it would only deal with issues in the bylaw.

As for the service industry, Chris Gonsowski, co-owner of Impeccable Pools on Dundas Street said he and his staff have it a bit easier than most.

“Luckily for us service guys, we’re on the road all the time," he said. "We only really have to wear masks if we’re going into gas stations or going to get lumber supplies.

“So, we have them in our trucks and then we stick to tight crews so it’s not like we’re switching crews all the time, it’s the same two guys together all the time.”

Gonsowski added the customers have been compliant with the bylaw and staff have been working to ensure that they too have been adhering to the bylaw.

“We haven’t had much of an issue,” said Gonsowski.

He explained the store has a Plexiglas barrier that allows the workers behind the counter the freedom to work without a mask and only don one when they need to come out to deal with things outside or elsewhere in the shop.

“We’ve been doing a lot of things like limiting the amount of customers in the store," he said. "There’s like a two-customer limit per time just for space purposes.”

Eaton said Chews has found alternative materials — such as neoprene — make mask wearing more bearable. They are also buying and selling masks to give to visitors who come in.

In fact, she said, the business has sold a couple hundred masks, which they sell at cost.

“(Making a profit) wasn’t the point of it, it was just to get people an option," she said of the mask sales.

Meanwhile, at Sweet Paradise, Asselin said he expects to continue wearing a mask through the fall, but is concerned about the future.

“My biggest fear is there is a second wave,” he said. “I mean we’ve seen it all over the world and if we go back to a lockdown again what’s it going to do to businesses?”

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: After the City of Hamilton mandated mandatory masks in businesses in late July, we wanted to check in with businesses in Flamborough to see how the rule had impacted them.

Flamborough businesses coping with mandatory mask bylaw

Alternative materials have made things easier for some employees

News Sep 10, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

Since the City of Hamilton passed a bylaw mandating mandatory mask in all business in late July, Flamborough businesses have been dealing with the new reality.

While customers needed to adjust to the new regulations, business owners and employees also had to learn to wear them and for extended periods of time — and some businesses have had an easier time adjusting than others.

“It’s horrible, we’re hating every minute of it because we talk all day long," said Elaine Eaton, the co-owner of Chews Raw Pet Food on Dundas Street in Waterdown. "We’re finding we’re super thirsty, exhausted, it’s just exhausting talking with a mask on all the time."

Eaton explained that while she understands the reasoning behind the masks, because of people constantly repositioning their masks, it almost negates wearing them.

“It’s horrible, we’re hating every minute of it because we talk all day long." — Elaine Eaton, Chews Raw Pet Food

However, she said the vast majority of customers have worn masks.

“It’s been good actually, I would say most people are wearing them — maybe 98 per cent of people are wearing them."

Meanwhile, at Sweet Paradise Bakery and Delicatessen, not much has changed for the staff, even with the mask bylaw.

The store never ceased operations throughout the shutdown and most of the customers — save those who claim medical exemptions — have been adhering to the policy, Sweet Paradise's Richard Asselin told the Review in July. However, he said it is a delicate balance when dealing with customers who aren't wearing a mask.

"We get the odd one or two customers that come in without it,” said Asselin. “You've got to say something to them, some of them don’t like it.

"So it’s a fine line, because you don’t want to upset that customer, they still are your customer."

As of July 20, all businesses and indoor public spaces required those in the city to wear masks. While the City of Hamilton would not enforce the mask policies of businesses, it would only deal with issues in the bylaw.

As for the service industry, Chris Gonsowski, co-owner of Impeccable Pools on Dundas Street said he and his staff have it a bit easier than most.

“Luckily for us service guys, we’re on the road all the time," he said. "We only really have to wear masks if we’re going into gas stations or going to get lumber supplies.

“So, we have them in our trucks and then we stick to tight crews so it’s not like we’re switching crews all the time, it’s the same two guys together all the time.”

Gonsowski added the customers have been compliant with the bylaw and staff have been working to ensure that they too have been adhering to the bylaw.

“We haven’t had much of an issue,” said Gonsowski.

He explained the store has a Plexiglas barrier that allows the workers behind the counter the freedom to work without a mask and only don one when they need to come out to deal with things outside or elsewhere in the shop.

“We’ve been doing a lot of things like limiting the amount of customers in the store," he said. "There’s like a two-customer limit per time just for space purposes.”

Eaton said Chews has found alternative materials — such as neoprene — make mask wearing more bearable. They are also buying and selling masks to give to visitors who come in.

In fact, she said, the business has sold a couple hundred masks, which they sell at cost.

“(Making a profit) wasn’t the point of it, it was just to get people an option," she said of the mask sales.

Meanwhile, at Sweet Paradise, Asselin said he expects to continue wearing a mask through the fall, but is concerned about the future.

“My biggest fear is there is a second wave,” he said. “I mean we’ve seen it all over the world and if we go back to a lockdown again what’s it going to do to businesses?”

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: After the City of Hamilton mandated mandatory masks in businesses in late July, we wanted to check in with businesses in Flamborough to see how the rule had impacted them.