Nova Scotia

So far, so good as Nova Scotia enters era of broader mask use

Masks and face coverings became mandatory in public spaces in Nova Scotia on Friday. Compliance is based on the honour system. So far, most people appear to be following the rules.

'For the most part, people have been pretty good about wearing masks'

Sylvia Driscoll-Sangster, left, and Mary Driscoll-Sangster work at the Uncommon Grounds coffee shop at the Halifax Public Gardens. They say most customers coming in are wearing masks. (Robert Short/CBC)

When it came to customers wearing masks at the Uncommon Grounds coffee shop at the Halifax Public Gardens on Friday, it was so far, so good.

It's the first day masks are mandatory inside Nova Scotia's public spaces. The measure was put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Sylvia Driscoll-Sangster, an Uncommon Grounds employee, said there is a sign on the door in accordance with the new rule.

"For the most part, people have been pretty good about wearing masks," she said.

Driscoll-Sangster said the mandatory mask rule makes all of the staff feel safer, especially as restrictions around travel loosen.

She said if someone comes into the shop without a mask, they'll be asked if they have a mask or face covering they could wear. If not, it's no big deal.

Denis Ryan says he accidentally forgot to bring his mask from home when he was at the Uncommon Grounds coffee shop on Friday. He says he's a supporter of the public health measure. (Robert Short/CBC)

Denis Ryan, an Uncommon Grounds customer, came into the coffee shop without a mask and was immediately apologetic to staff.

"Forgive me, I did sin today," Ryan said.

He said he accidentally left his mask at home thinking the rule kicked in on Saturday. He said he's a proponent of wearing masks indoors. 

"I think it's also a show of respect to the people around me and I have no problem with it whatsoever," he said.

Customers Dusty Keashly, left, and Karen Kramer wore masks to the Halifax Public Gardens. (Robert Short/CBC)

Customers Karen Kramer and Dusty Keashly wore masks.

"It's going to be here for a long time, get used to it, just make it a habit," Keashly said. 

Kramer said Nova Scotia seems to have COVID-19 under control and is concerned that could lead to complacency around public health compliance.

"Hopefully, people come on board because we don't know how it's going to unfold over time," she said.

Steven DeWolfe says masks are the new normal. (Robert Short/CBC)

Steven DeWolfe had his mask on as he walked in downtown Halifax.

"I think it may be necessary to curb [the] COVID-19 thing, but at the end of the day I just keep it because it's mandatory," he said.

DeWolfe said he witnessed a few people refusing to wear a mask on the bus earlier in the day.

"I mean it's going to be rebellious wherever you go, it doesn't matter, that's how people think. But at the same time, how could you think of just yourself when there are other people," he said.

Lydia Muyingo said she has no problem wearing a mask. (Robert Short/CBC)

Lydia Muyingo said she has no problem wearing a mask.

"I've been wearing a mask indoors for a while now, probably since March, for groceries," Muyingo said.

David Slauenwhite works at Duggers Mens Wear in downtown Halifax. (Robert Short/CBC)

David Slauenwhite, who works at Duggers Men's Wear in downtown Halifax, said customers at the store so far have been co-operative with the mask rule. Like Uncommon Grounds, he said the store will still do business with someone not wearing a mask.

"Every customer is still welcome," he said.

With the store near several bus routes, he observed most people wearing masks as they exited the bus, but he said about 10 per cent did not.

"That's kind of puzzling to me," he said. "I understand people may have underlying health issues but they're putting other people — as well as themselves — at risk."

Masks and face coverings became mandatory in public spaces in Nova Scotia on Friday. Compliance is based on the honour system. So far, most people appear to be following the rules. 2:00

With files from Vernon Ramesar

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