Denturist Erika Colebank suits up in full PPE to keep her clients, most of whom are seniors with health conditions, safe. So when she discovered another business in the building, the nail salon downstairs isn’t even requiring people to wear masks, she was stunned.
“When I see unsafe behaviour in the building that my patients are coming to I do feel partially responsible,” said Colebank, who owns Beautiful Smiles Denture Clinic.
The building shares common areas like a lobby and washrooms and at a time when COVID cases are surging in the community, Colebank worries it’s leaving her elderly patients exposed.
“It is a matter of life and death,” she said.
While nobody was answering the door or the phone at Fallen for Nails Hair and Beauty Salon today a few weeks ago its owner spoke to CHEK news after being arrested over a mask dispute.
Taneal Maloney said at the time she has an exemption for a mask but also lets clients go mask-less and she also complained she was being harassed by bylaw and RCMP.
“I’ve become a target and it’s been going on for about a month and a half,” she said on January 19.
Since concerns were raised about the lack of masks at her business, Maloney has been fined by RCMP, Duncan bylaw, and Worksafe BC. Island Health has issued a stop-work order, the City of Duncan has revoked her business license, and her landlord has sent a warning letter demanding she comply or face eviction.
“It’s extremely irresponsible and disappointing,” said Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples.
Yet Staples says she’s been told the business is still operating and others in the building say they’ve noticed activity in the salon as recently as Tuesday.
“We’ve used all of the powers that we have and we continue to exercise them daily and it’s exhausting for everyone,” said Staples.
Even the Cowichan Valley’s MLA is now involved.
“It’s astonishing how many steps have been taken, and it’s not been effective so that’s why I’ve reached out to the Ministry,” said Cowichan Valley MLA and BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau.
Furstenau says Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told her Wednesday he looking to see what he can do under the Emergency Act.