By Staff Sgt. Ryan Currie of the Creston RCMP
In the past week, Creston RCMP has received a number of calls regarding disputes, disturbances and actual violence over the wearing of masks and the provincial health order.
To be clear, there is no violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the BC Human Rights Code when a store owner bars entry to someone who won’t wear a mask. Stores cannot bar customers for human rights-related reasons such as race, colour, religion, ethnicity, marital status, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. However, it is not a violation of anyone’s human rights for a store to refuse service to someone who refuses to wear a mask.
Businesses are not public places. Stores are private property, with an invitation to the public to enter and shop according to the conditions set by the stores (and as required by COVID-19 masking orders). Simply stated, no one has a legal right to shop in any particular store, subject to human rights legislation that prohibits discrimination. That list, as stated above, does not include masks.
Business owners must follow the guidelines, and do not have a choice. It is unfair and unwarranted to challenge or argue with business staff regarding mask use when they are just following the guidelines that they are bound to. Let’s all treat each other with the respect and courtesy expected of a community as great as the Creston Valley.