Union wants Manitoba government and grocery chains to apply mandatory masks for customers when shopping – fr

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Union wants Manitoba government and grocery chains to apply mandatory masks for customers when shopping – fr


WINNIPEG – A union representing thousands of retail grocery workers in Manitoba is calling on major retail grocery chains and the province to demand that all customers wear a mask when shopping.

“We had literally hundreds of workers in the COVID-19 retail grocery contract,” said Jeff Traeger, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832.

The union sent an open letter to several large retail grocery stores, particularly Sobeys, Loblaws and Red River Co-op, asking them to enforce a “no mask, no service” policy in all stores.

Traeger says union members, who represent about 9,000 grocery store workers in the province, have reported numerous cases of customers not wearing masks inside grocery stores.

“Our members are feeling very frustrated and very scared,” especially in light of the spread of new variants of COVID-19 in Manitoba, said Traeger.

UFCW Local 832 is also calling on the province to require customers to wear a mask when in an indoor retail store.

When asked for a statement, the province referred to subsection 27 (1) of the current COVID-19 health ordinances, which states: “A person who enters or remains in an indoor public place must wear a mask so to cover his mouth. , nose and chin without gaping hole. “

The following subsection 27 (2) adds that “the operator of an indoor public place shall ensure that any person who does not wear a mask while in an indoor public place is reminded to do so as soon as possible.

Traeger says that once a grocery store reminds a customer to wear a mask, they are not responsible, even if the customer refuses.

“There is no incentive through public health orders for grocery stores to impose a mask policy,” he said, “we think it’s the right thing to do.”

At a large grocery store in Winnipeg, Traeger says, 25 to 30 customers can come to shop without a mask, adding that the number is higher in Steinbach, Carman and Winkler.

John Graham, Retail Council of Canada’s government relations director for the Prairie region, has also heard about the issue of maskless customers in southern Manitoba.

“We know there are situations where employees are put at risk because they have tried to enforce mandatory mask requirements,” Graham said.

Provincial enforcement of public health orders is the best method to ensure compliance, Graham says.

“If you want to put a 16-year-old part-time retailer in a situation of grabbing a tall adult who is determined not to wear a mask, that creates increased risk,” he said.

In a statement to CTV News, Sobeys Inc. said, “We work closely with our stores to ensure that all regulatory security practices and any additional security practices that we have instituted are strictly adhered to. We strongly recommend that every customer in our store wear a mask and we continue to meet and adhere to the Province of Manitoba’s Masking Guideline.

A spokesperson for Loblaws Inc. also made a statement saying, “The government requires masks to be worn in all indoor public places unless there is a valid exemption, and our stores are legally compliant and gladly. We expect our customers to do the same. “

CTV News has not heard from Red River Co-op.

Meanwhile, an independent grocery store in downtown Winnipeg has required all customers to wear a mask when shopping since the province has included the use of indoor masks in its public health orders.

Co-owner Kevin Schmidt says most customers have complied.

“We had one person who kind of refused to do it,” Schmidt said, “We just said, ‘We apologize, but our policy here is that you have to wear a mask.’ “

Schmidt says having a strict mask policy is a matter of safety for workers and customers.

“I think big box stores should step up and enforce these policies to make people feel safe.”

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