As Canada continues to respond to a respiratory viral infection with frenzied mandates that are largely left open to individual interpretation, it is the most vulnerable sectors of society that suffer the most.
Candice Pilgrim is the mom of a disabled child, Cade, who was kicked out of a LUSH cosmetics store in the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta due to her son’s inability to wear a face covering. The family, who is from Fort McMurray, had travelled four-plus hours into Edmonton to bring Cade to necessary medical appointments where he was to undergo testing for the very condition(s) that makes him mask exempt.
Knowing how much Cade loves bubble baths, his mom was simply trying to purchase some for him to enjoy back at their hotel room after a long day of tests and appointments. This is one instance where Candice is thankful that Cade does not have the cognitive ability to understand what they experienced because he would have been just as, if not more, traumatized as she is.
But why did staff not honour Cade’s mask exemption? I spoke to the manager of the store who called the situation “nuanced” and couldn’t answer whether her staff was adequately trained in the mask mandate and how to honour or respect exemptions. She directed me to Customer Support, where I sat on hold for extended periods of time before pointing an e-mail to Lush Press Inquires line.
Which is confusing because Lush stipulates that they adhere to the CDC’s Mask Guidelines as evidenced by their “lowdown on everything we're doing to keep everyone safe.” And the CDC’s own "Guidance For Wearing Masks," which Lush links to, outlines “Who should or should not wear a mask” which clearly states, “A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability.”
Sadly, Lush did not respond to my requests for clarification. It looks like facial coverings are a way to mask humanity. And isn’t a store manager responsible for… the management of a store? Are they not responsible for adequately managing and training staff? What kind of busy parent is going to take hours to sit on hold with Lush cosmetics customer support line to see if their disabled child's mask exemption will be honoured? Horrible customer support, if you ask me.