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LETTER: Some have medical reasons for not wearing a mask

Langley reader says local business overstepped, discriminating against consumer

Dear Editor,

I have sinus problems serious enough to have had surgery on it. It helped, but I’m still 50 to 75 per cent obstructed virtually all the time on one side: the further obstruction of a mask makes me so dizzy within three to four minutes, I have to get outside to get more air.

Recently, I needed some fabric for a project, so I went to the store. As soon as I entered the business, a store clerk said I had to wear a mask.

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I told her I was medically exempt, and showed her my “medical mask exempt” badge I wear when shopping.

She didn’t care.

I then tried to show her the mask exemption page from the provincial government, but she said they did not accept those provincial rules, that they set their own policies.

Because her attitude was so antagonistic, I didn’t even try to show her the letter from my physician because she had no interest in anything but forcing me out of the store.

Her only concern was that, not withstanding B.C. governmental rulings, the owner/manager of the store’s policy was to ignore them and get legitimate mask-exempt people out of the store.

We, of course, immediate left the store.

Then, when I was in my car writing down the name and address of the store, the time, and notes of what happened, my wife saw someone come to the door of the store and start taking photographs of us.

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At this point, this incident went from one of discrimination to intimidation, in my mind.

I am filing a complaint against this store with the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Until they make their ruling, I am asking that this store’s business licence be suspended until they agree to abide by the provincial rules regarding legitimate mask exemptions, and until they place at least a 2-inch X 4-inch notice in the newspaper that they will no longer discriminate against handicapped customers who cannot wear masks.

Paul Bowman, Aldergrove


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