Saskatoon health and beauty store's sign banning masks raises concerns

The owner of the business declined to comment Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, the sign was taken down.

Business owner declined to comment Tuesday. By Wednesday, the sign was taken down

The sign banning masks inside Saskatoon's Vita Juwel was still posted on the shop's front window Tuesday evening. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

A sign at a health and beauty business banning customers from wearing masks inside the store touched off concerns online and in Saskatoon this week.

"I found it extremely irresponsible," said Jennifer Drennan, one of several people who spoke out on social media about the sign, which was taken down by Wednesday morning. 

A photo of the sign, hanging on the front window of Vita Juwel, was posted on Reddit on Monday. 

"No facemasks allowed!" the sign read in all caps. "If you want to learn how to protect your immunity and your sanity during this time kindly ask us how and we would be happy to help keep you safe!"

A second sign, beneath the first sign, stated the business treats people for everything from arthritis to suicide, adding, "Choose to stay safe all-ways."

The owner of the business declined to comment on the sign Tuesday. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

The top sign was still on the store window as of Tuesday evening.

The owner of Vita Juwel said she had no comment on the sign.

'An irresponsible statement'

Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saquib Shahab, has recommended, though not required, that people wear masks inside stores.

The province's guidance on wearing non-medical masks states that masks "can play an important role in situations and community settings where physical distancing is not possible or is unpredictable (such as on public transit or in grocery stores) and when the local epidemiology and rate of community transmission warrant it."

CBC News reached out to the Saskatchewan Health Authority for comment about Vita Juwel's sign. 

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health said businesses have the independence to implement safety measures as they see fit, including physical distancing markers on floors and requiring staff to wear masks, etc.

"Some businesses, like restaurants, are required to adhere to strict public health measures under the public health order," a ministry spokesperson said. "Businesses should familiarize themselves with their options and obligations as it relates to mask use as outlined in [the guidelines], as well as directions and recommendations on indoor mask use from the chief medical health officer."


Saskatoon's downtown business improvement district said it not had heard of other signs similar to Vita Juwel's. 

Drennan said she supports private businesses doing as they see fit and that people can choose to patronize what stores they want. She said she recognizes the issue of masks is polarizing. 

But she added, "It just seems to be an irresponsible statement to make to me — that not only would they not be following the health guidelines themselves, but actively, you know, actively advising against those guidelines."

"I think it's especially irresponsible for any business which purports to promote health and wellness to do that in particular," Drennan said. 

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About the Author

Guy Quenneville

All-platform journalist for CBC Saskatoon

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