Mask sales soar as calls to make them mandatory at schools in B.C. continue


Lisa Burrows stitches away in her home, working on her latest project.

Face masks.

Burrows, a teacher of 23 years, says this is the first year she didn’t have a place to work for the summer and decided to make face masks while she is laid off.

Recently, sales are booming as more businesses, like Walmart, Superstore, BC Transit, and BC Ferries, start to make face coverings mandatory.

Burrows says she thinks the demand will stick around.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of people buying masks in the next couple weeks,” said the mask-maker.

On Monday, she’s hoping to sell even more at the Royal Bay Market, preparing dozens of masks as more people ask for face coverings.

Currently, businesses regulate themselves, deciding whether or not customers are required to wear face coverings while in-store.

Another place regulating themselves with no mandatory mask rule is schools.

But that could soon change. In a release today, the Greater Victoria Teacher’s Association (GVTA) called upon the Greater Victoria School District asking for everyone in schools this fall to mask up.

“All adults and students 10 years and older should be required to wear face masks when physical distancing is not possible,” reads the statement from the GVTA. “Exceptions to be made where there is a medical condition that prevents usage.”

Burrows, who is hoping to return to classrooms in September, also thinks masks should be brought mainstream.

“I am all for that initiative. I just want to be safe, I just want to do my job. My mother who’s in her ’70s lives with me and I don’t want to have to risk any kind of illness,” said the high school teacher.

And as far as she can tell, the demand is there.

“Right now I’ve been really busy for children with back for school, lots of people are looking for children’s masks.”

One of those kids is Burrow’s next door neighbour Harper Read, who will be heading into grade five this fall.

“I’m not really a big fan but I’ll do it,” said Harper, admitting she doesn’t love to wear masks but is willing to in public for the safety of others.

While she says yes to masks, her friends might have mixed reactions.

“I just think it will be a little bit of a pain for some students and I think some students will refuse and some will just be fine with it,” said the soon-to-be fifth grader.

Until masks are made mandatory in school she’ll be at home, like Burrows, as the province waits to see how the school year will shape up, with or without masks.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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