Metro Vancouver pet store owner says they've been yelled at, stolen from due to mask policy

Jul 21 2021, 7:58 pm

A pet store owner has spoken out about some of the hostile behaviour that she and her employees have dealt with due to the store’s mask policy.

Karima Jivraj is the owner of a Bosley’s located at Columbia Square Plaza in New Westminster. Earlier this week, she took to social media explaining some of the concerning events that occurred at her store over the past week.

Jivraj explains that many of the employees on her team have not yet received a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, many of them have siblings under the age of 12 that aren’t eligible to receive it.

“I’m kindly asking you to continue wearing masks in my store for the foreseeable future, not just to protect you but to protect my team,” she says in a video message.

“I’m simply trying to keep you, as my customer, my team, and our families safe. It would really be appreciated if you could kindly respect that and continue wearing masks until otherwise noted.”

Jivraj says that last week, the store was forced to call the police twice “due to the unacceptable behaviour of a couple of customers.”

In one instance, the team was concerned for Jivraj’s safety. In the second instance, a person reportedly refused to wear a mask and then proceeded to steal a bag of pet food from the store.

“We also had someone call my team and me names as he didn’t want to wear a mask,” the store owner adds. “I will not allow anyone to abuse my team, get hostile with them, or verbally abuse them.”

British Columbia’s mandatory mask mandate was lifted as the province entered Step 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan. When Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement, she stressed that mask-wearing would still be recommended in all indoor public spaces for those who aren’t fully immunized.

As of Tuesday, July 20, 80% of eligible people 12 and older in BC had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 54.4% having received their second dose.

Henry has also stressed that individuals may continue to wear masks for personal reasons and that it’s essential for everyone to “go at [their] own pace.”

“I get that Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that masks are recommended,” Jivraj says. “But as a business owner, I am simply trying to be respectful and responsible to my team.”

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