December 31, 2020

Found in violation of public health order, Edmonton business owner posts defiant signage

by Dan Grummett - CTV News Edmonton

EDMONTON -- The owner of an Edmonton retail store has been ordered by Alberta Health Services to immediately implement measures inside her business to mitigate spread of COVID-19 after an inspection allegedly found multiple violations of the province’s public health order.

According to AHS, an executive officer found Susan Baker, owner of Boutique on First, located in east Edmonton, did not have COVID-19 signage posted at her store’s entrance or inside. COVID-19 signage is a government requirement for Alberta stores that admit patrons.

When asked to post requisite signage by the officer, the owner instead posted a sign that read “No Mask No Ask,” according to the document, which also states the owner refused to discuss COVID-19 mitigation measures. Edmonton bylaw requires face coverings be worn in public spaces

A sign located in the storefront window on Thursday read, "No mask? We won’t ask."

The directive, issued Dec. 29, gave the store between 24 and 48 hours to implement proper signage, a protective barrier at its checkout, and other COVID-19-related cleaning and disinfecting measures.

On Thursday, Baker said the store, which was not forced to close, had still not implemented the measures and has no intention to.

“I’m not being bullied to question people (about masks) when they come in my store and demand that they have to follow these bylaws,” Baker told CTV News Edmonton, adding she believes public health orders and bylaws are not actual laws.

The inspection at Boutique on First stemmed from a complaint, one of more than 1,500 submitted to AHS between Dec. 21 and Dec. 29.

According to AHS, of the 1,515 complaints, 326 led to inspections. Four public health orders were issued, including the one against Boutique on First, and in one separate instance, police were referred.

AHS did not provide details regarding the lone police referral.

Albertans can report COVID-19 related concerns online​.

All public health orders are legally enforceable and fines can be issued for violations, according to the Alberta Government website.


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