Community rallying around Regina business attacked in online video
REGINA -- A Regina business has received an outpouring of support from the community after a video posted online showed a group of people verbally attacking staff due to a mask policy.
Dessarts Sweets Ice Cream and Candy has seen an uptick in business since the video was posted on Wednesday.
"It's been amazing, actually, and it restores my faith in humanity," Dessart Sweets owner Shelley Patterson told CTV News on Thursday.
The video shows a large group of people gathered outside the shop on 13th Avenue in Regina. A man states the staff refused to serve him unless he put a mask on.
"They said you can’t get ice cream unless you put a mask on," the man said.
Over the next three minutes, the group continues to yell at the workers about the store’s mask requirement.
"They refused every single person service because we were not wearing a mask, outside," the woman behind the camera states.
Dessart Sweets has had a mask policy in place since last summer and it is clearly stated on a sign outside the ice cream shop.
"The mask policy is clearly stated on our website and is actually on the on the sign on the deck as well," Patterson said. "We just ask that you wear a mask while in line and while you're ordering ice cream just out of consideration for the safety of our staff and our customers."
The provincial government has mandated mask use at any indoor public place and strongly recommends their use outside. Private businesses are also permitted to implement their own policies.
Patterson said after hearing about the incident, she was mostly concerned for the safety of her staff.
"It's upsetting to me if my staff is getting harassed and is particularly upsetting to see the video of a man leaning in our window without a mask on," she said. "That’s not only inconsiderate, but also dangerous at a time like this."
Since the video was shared on social media, many people have voiced their support for the shop and its staff on social media.
People also lined up throughout the day on Thursday to show their support.
"It was unfortunate seeing a group that says they’re speaking for freedom and they want to support local businesses and seeing the verbal abuse directed at them," one customer said. "I’m super impressed they’re making the health and safety of their staff and customers a priority in all of this."
"I just want to support local businesses, it’s important," another customer said. "Being a frontline worker myself, it happens, it’s not always about masks, but other things as well."
Patterson said dealing abuse is nothing new in the service industry and she hopes this incident can shed some light on the issue.
"There’s always been a notion where the customer is always right and these days, the customer isn’t always right and the service industry should not have to take abuse and harassment because someone does not want to wear a mask," she said.
CTV News reached out to the person who posted the video, but did not receive a response.