hooked toronto

Toronto business offering special hours for people not comfortable without masks

Some people in Toronto still aren't comfortable shopping at businesses without masks now that mandates have dropped, but one place is offering special masked hours for those who feel less safe.

Seafood store Hooked posted on social media about their "mask hours" on the first day masks were no longer required for indoor shopping, March 21st.

When Hooked stores open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for two hours, all staff and people shopping will require a face covering. They're also continuing to do delivery and curbside pickup.

Aside from the mask hours, masks are not mandatory while shopping at Hooked, but similar to many businesses, staff are going to remain masked at all times for now.

Responses to the policy are overwhelmingly positive on social media.

"A way to make everyone comfortable," someone commented on the post. "What a great compromise," commented someone else. "Very clever and compassionate," someone else chimed in.

"Haven't seen this done yet but it's a great idea," one person commented.

"That is really awesome of you as there are a lot of us for which the pandemic is not over," someone wrote. "Thank you for your thoughtfulness." Another person agreed: "My high risk ass appreciates it."

"We decided to implement masking hours late last week after having a few immunization-compromised customers and those with wee babes expressing concern over the mask mandate being lifted," Hooked co-owner Kristin Donovan tells blogTO.

They chose the first two hours after opening on Wednesday and Saturday for their mask hours as that's right after they usually do their big sanitizations, so it's actually even safer to shop then for that reason.

In addition to posting on their website and social media, they're making people aware of the policy with signage on doors and are offering everyone masks upon entering.

"The response has been amazing thus far," says Donovan, adding, "We are taking everything day by day. For the moment, our entire staff remains masked and are happy to do so."

The first day of the mask hours policy being implemented at the shop is March 23. Hooked has locations at 888 Queen St. E., 206 Baldwin St., 18 Ripley Ave., and 1246 Danforth Ave.

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