/Minden business asks customers not to wear masks

Minden business asks customers not to wear masks

By Sue Tiffin   A sign advising customers not to wear masks when in the store is posted at a Minden business that also faced substantial public criticism in March for declaring the coronavirus a hoax.     “No masks permitted in this store,” reads the sign, according to Amandha Vollmer at YumNaturals Emporium. “There is no COVID. Your body makes particles when you are healing. They are not contagious. Time to wake up and end tyranny. Turn off the mainstream lies. The only virus is in your mind.”   The business, then called Yummy Mummy Emporium & Apothecary, garnered attention after a COVID-19-related post was made to its Facebook page in March, calling the disease a hoax and encouraging social gathering at its Bobcaygeon Road location at a time when the province had locked down due to a global pandemic.
Business owner Amandha Vollmer posted a photo of the sign on her store door to her social media account on Aug. 30.
At press time, Vollmer had not responded to questions submitted via email by the Minden Times.
  A mask mandate was issued by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit beginning July 13. The instructions issued by chief medical officer Dr. Lynn Noseworthy required commercial establishments operating during Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan to have policies in place to stop people from entering establishments without non-medical masks or face coverings. That requirement has continued into Stage 3. Exemptions for mask-wearing within commercial establishments include children under two, those with developmental disabilities who refuse to wear a mask, people who are incapacitated or unable to remove a mask without assistance or for other religious or medical reasons.   The health unit would not speak to actions of a particular business, but responded with information on how the health unit addresses complaints they receive about businesses.
“When a complaint about a business is received by the health unit, our staff will contact the business, advise them a complaint has been received and provide them with education and information about the mask directive from the health unit,” said Chandra Tremblay, spokesperson for the health unit. “Our staff will do this for the first three complaints received, and then the complaint is referred to our Environmental Health (EH) staff for enforcement.”   EH staff then determine if the business is one that the health unit will follow up with or if it is to be forwarded to the local OPP or municipal police based on an inter-agency agreement. A public health inspector conducts onsite visits and discussions if issues are seen to those businesses the health unit would follow up with. Fines of $750 for failure to comply with a health unit order could be issued, as well an additional ticket for $1,000 can be levied for obstruction. Continued non-compliance can lead to a summons for the person to appear in court where a judge can issue a fine, as well as significantly greater fines.   As of Sept. 8, there were no current confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Haliburton County, with 15 prior cases including one that led to hospitalization deemed resolved, but in the health unit region there have been 33 deaths related to COVID-19 and 229 confirmed cases of the virus, while as of Sept. 8 according to CBC there are about 1,527 active cases of the virus in the province. According to the John Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Centre 27,431,255 cases and 894,306 deaths in 188 countries/regions have been recorded globally as of Sept. 8. Anti-mask protests across the world have been increasing since March, as masks have been mandated by health organizations and governments.   According to Tremblay, those concerned that a local business is not implementing the health unit’s mask directive correctly can email the health unit at covid19@hkpr.on.ca or call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.