Leading Hamilton toy store says ‘stay with masks…that’s a small request’

By Nathan Sager

Published on March 21, 2022 at 6:51 p.m.

A well-regarded Hamilton children’s toy store points out that it needs a mask requirement in order to ensure it can stay open.

Citizen Kid, a popular Locke Street store, wrote in a social media post last week that it hopes customers will continue to wear masks. Hamilton City Council voted Monday to rescind mandatory face covering and physical distancing bylaws, following the province’s decision that made masking optional in many indoor public places.

But Citizen Kid’s post noted that a “round of COVID” would severely hamper the independent business’s ability to continue operating. Citizen Kid also said he would have masks available for a $1 donation to McMaster Children’s Hospital.

“As a small business, we have a lot to consider as we move forward with this development – ​​many of our customers are too young to wear masks or be vaccinated, and as a store with only a few members of the staff, we won’t be able to stay open if we catch a series of COVIDs.

“We want our customers and staff to stay well and healthy, so with that in mind, we’re going to ask you to stick to masks for the time being when you come shopping with us. We hope you agree that this is a small request to keep others healthy and respecting everyone’s needs.

“Please wear a mask when you come to shop. If you forget yours, we will make them available for a $1 donation to Children’s Hospital. If you choose not to wear a mask, we ask that you respectfully to shop online at this time.”

Children under 5 are not eligible for a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. In Hamilton, second-dose coverage among children aged 5-11 years is also growing faster than first-dose coverage in recent times. Thirty-five percent of children in this age group have received two strokes and just under 53 percent have had at least one. (Officially the count is 35.01 and 52.90).

Among 12 to 17 year olds, 12.49% received three doses of vaccine. That equates to one in eight teens and teenagers.

While Citizen Kid was open about the importance of masks to their operations, other companies stressed that staff would continue to wear masks.

For example, the Dundurn Market grocery store also noted that it is a “small store” where workers will continue to wear masks.

“Being a small store and in an effort to continue to protect our staff and our community, our staff will continue to wear masks while working inside. We encourage customers to wear masks when shopping, but it is not mandatory and we leave the choice up to you,” said a message on Dundurn Market’s Instagram.

Black Knight Games, a DIY store on Mohawk Road East, said its staff would continue to wear masks.

“Staff will always wear masks, and customers are encouraged to do so if they feel it is convenient for them,” Black Knight Games said in an Instagram post. “Masks will continue to be provided for those who may use them at the door, along with hand sanitiser. Customers with symptoms of COVID or who have recently had direct contact with a confirmed case are asked to stay home and get tested before joining our event space. Do not attend events if you are sick!

“This change will come as a relief to some and create additional angst for others – so please treat each other with patience, kindness and understanding.

“We will continue to monitor the situation with local laws and workloads, and we will not hesitate to change our policies if we believe it is the right course of action.”

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