As the provincial mandate came into effect, some businesses immediately saw an increasing divide in how the community responded.

General Manager of the Adventure Hotel, Rob Little, saw his co-worker have a heart attack after being spat on by a customer who refused to wear a mask. Photo by Keili Bartlett

As the Kootenay Co-op Grocery Store hired its first-ever security guard, an employee at Empire Coffee was spat on. Tensions around the pandemic are not new in Nelson — Baker Street and outside of City Hall have been the sites of at least three back-to-back anti-mask protests — but they are escalating.

Business owners have been trying to balance maintaining a safe environment for staff and patrons, and unofficially enforcing pandemic protocols — although Interior Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry said it is not the responsibility of businesses to enforce the mask mandate.

Listen to the story here: 

With files from Jake Sherman.
The beliefs of protesters vary from the pandemic being a hoax to a vaccine being dangerous. Photo by Jake Sherman


A greeter explains the mask mandate and COVID-19 protocols to customers at the Kootenay Co-op Grocery Store. Inside is their new security guard post. Photo by Keili Bartlett