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This interactive 'safer shopping' directory shows B.C. businesses that still require masks

You can search over 300 businesses to see their mask policy.
The Safer Shopping Network is a directory of B.C. retail/service outlets that still require masks following the lifting of the mask policy on July 1, 2021. Photo: iStock/Getty Images

Are you concerned about your safety since the mandatory mask policy was lifted across B.C.?

While some British Columbians were excited to see the policy lifted on July 1, others worry there may be a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

Since the order was lifted, numerous locals have taken to social media to share their experiences. Several of them feel that the health and safety of businesses, employees and patrons are at risk due to the relaxed rules. Masks are recommended in public indoor settings for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated, too.

And while not all businesses continue to ask customers to don face coverings, others don't even recommend them to do so. 

Originally from Terrace, Crystal Mundy spent her adult life in Kelowna and moved to Edmonton in June for her final residency with Alberta Health Services. She told Vancouver Is Awesome that she's been involved in several "COVID-related" projects through the pandemic. Now, she's part of a group that runs the Safer Shopping Network — a directory of retail/service outlets that continue to require masks.

British Columbians may enter the name of a store into the directory search to find out if it still requires employees and customers to don masks. At the time of this writing, 303 businesses are included in the list. However, the list will continue to grow.

"Three of us maintain the admin side of the network, and then many many others are involved in looking up, entering, and confirming information," she explained. 

metro-vancouver-mom-son-wearing-face-masks-july-2021Photo courtesy Crystal Mundy

'This network is NOT to shame or blame businesses'

There is also a list of businesses that do not require masks underneath the directory of ones that do require them.

But Mundy underscored that the directory isn't meant to shame businesses who don't require masks. 

"I will be clear that this network is NOT to shame or blame businesses that are unable to keep a mask mandate for customers. Without a provincial mask mandate supporting them, we know customers can get angry and even violent," she said. "Essential and other workers should never be put in such circumstances."

In order to reduce conflict between customers and businesses, she hopes the network can offer a tool for "at-risk" individuals. 

"This includes parents of children  under 12 (currently unvaccinated), people with autoimmune disorders, children and adults with disabilities, seniors, young essential workers, and many others."

Mundy added that the World Health Organization continues to advise people to wear masks in public indoor settings due to concerns about COVID-19 strains such as the Delta variant.

The Safer Shopping Network plans to open Canada-wide, but it will depend on when and how each province deals with the mask mandate.

Visit the group on Facebook or via their online directory.