No mask, no service? Businesses have the right to require masks on customers

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TORONTO — Anyone hoping for a way out of putting on a face mask to visit stores and other businesses demanding customers wear one, think again.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says any business has the right to refuse customers for not wearing a mask and he is encouraging people to abide by such rules.

Business and legal experts agree it is well within a company’s rights to make masks mandatory for their visitors.

Richard Powers, a University of Toronto associate professor with expertise in business law, says the safety of retail workers and staff trumps a customer’s right to refuse wearing a mask and businesses have a legal responsibility to create a safe working environment.

Having people wear masks is a reasonable accommodation to provide that safe environment, so Powers says a retailer can refuse entry to someone who will not don a mask.

He says it’s likely someone will challenge such policies on grounds such as discrimination, so retailers should be prepared for a hassle and expense of such a move.

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