Over the last couple of weeks, a particular genre of amateur filmmaking has begun clogging up our social media feeds. Each is filmed in some seemingly arbitrary location, a setting unaccustomed to the spotlight of internet infamy. Grocery stores. Curb-side cafes. Local Walmarts. In all of these clips, the viewer bears witness to the unfolding of a modern horror story: customers, emboldened by their private sense of justice, refuse to wear their masks.
Most of these clips have been filmed in the United States, but that isn’t to say versions of them don’t occur in Canada, too. At the end of May, for example, the owners of a convenience store in Toronto reported being attacked by four men after forcibly removing a customer who refused to wear a mask. One of the owners said it was tough to listen to the sounds of her own screams on the video recording from a camera outside. The other’s face was bruised for six weeks after.
Municipalities across Ontario have been “seriously exploring” the idea of making face masks mandatory in indoor spaces over the last couple of weeks. And on June 30, as if to answer that strain of bewildering video, Toronto City Council voted unanimously in favour of requiring people to cover their faces in all enclosed public places, including:
- retail stores
- convenience stores
- malls, shopping plazas
- grocery stores, bakeries, farmer’s markets (enclosed areas)
- restaurants, bars (when permitted to open for indoor service)
- indoor recreational facilities, gyms, swimming pools (when permitted to open)
- community centres
- community service agencies
- personal service settings
- churches, mosque, synagogue, temples and faith settings
- art galleries, museums, aquariums, zoos
- banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums, and other event spaces
- real estate facilities such as open house, presentation centres
- common areas in hotels, motels and short-term rentals (e.g. lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms)
- entertainment facilities including concert venues,...