'Business as usual' for P.E.I. as province marks Day 1 of mandatory masks

Day 1 of mandatory mask use in indoor public spaces appears to have gone smoothly. Islanders are now required to wear a mask when they're in stores, restaurants, and other public places.

'For us, it's no big deal today,' says pair who have been wearing masks for months already

Customers and staff are adapting well to mandatory mask-wearing, says Malini Hardath, assistant manager of Discounters in Charlottetown. (Brian Higgins/CBC News)

Day one of mandatory indoor mask-wearing appears to have gone smoothly.

"It is absolutely beautiful. Everybody comes in all geared up with their masks," said Malini Hardath, assistant manager of the Discounters store in Charlottetown,

As of Friday, masks are required in all indoor public places, including stores and restaurants. Only children under the age of two and those with medical issues are exempt.

No one has complained about the new rule, said Hardath, and pretty much everyone seems to be complying. The store offers free disposable masks available to anyone who doesn't have one.

'It's better to safe, for sure,' says Shirley LeClair on the new mandatory mask rule. (Brian Higgins/CBC News)

"Everybody cares about their family members and their coworkers, so I don't believe there would be an issue at all," she said.

Staff won't be enforcing the new public health rule though, she said.

"We don't question why you're not wearing a mask because we can't see their abilities or disabilities and we can't decide whether they should be wearing one or not," said Hardath.

Shoppers CBC News spoke with Friday said wearing a mask is not a big deal.

Laura and Jim Farrell say they've been wearing masks when they go shopping or running errands for months now. (Brian Higgins/CBC News)

"It's just an extra layer of protection to keep everybody safe and I have no problem with it at all," said Laura Farrell, adding that she and her husband have been wearing masks for several months every time they go to any stores.

"For us, it's no big deal today. It's just business as usual."

"It's a little hot inside of it but once you get outside to your vehicle, you can take it off," said Shirley LeClair.  "It's better to be safe, for sure."

Most of the restaurant's customers appear to be used to wearing a mask indoors, says Jessica Xu, assistant manager of Taste of India. (Brian Higgins/CBC News)

At Taste of India, diners are forewarned by signs on the door, and the restaurant also posted the new rule on social media. Diners must wear a mask when they're not eating or drinking.

"We've been really fortunate where we have amazing customers and they abide by our rules, and they have in the past as well when it comes to being socially distanced," said assistant manager Jessica Xu.

Staff have been wearing masks for a while, and most guests have been too, she said. "It's like second nature."

The new rule is mandatory at the provincial legislature too.

Legislature staff and MLAs are required to wear masks when they're not seated or in their place speaking. From the left are Speaker Colin Lavie, Zack Bell (being sworn in as an MLA on Nov. 18) and Joey Jeffrey, clerk of the legislative assembly. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC News)

The chief public health office requires members to wear masks when they're arriving at or leaving their seat, speaking to pages or other instances when they're not able to maintain a two-metre distance.

MLAs are allowed to remove their mask when they're seated, or when they rise to speak in the house.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Brian Higgins


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