Kelowna shop bans mask use, customers with COVID-19 vaccinations | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna shop bans mask use, customers with COVID-19 vaccinations

Sun City Silver and Gold Exchange on Bernard Avenue, April 22, 2021.
April 23, 2021 - 12:00 PM

A Kelowna business owner is not allowing customers to wear masks, or allow those who’ve received a COVID-19 vaccination, inside his store.

Signage posted on the door of Sun City Silver and Gold Exchange at Bernard Avenue and Gordon Drive in Kelowna reads: “No face masks allowed within these private premises. Please lower your face diaper or go someplace else!” The sign also called provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry a “dumbass.” An additional sign said Sun City won't allow people inside the store that have taken the “experimental vaccines,” calling them a “toxic potion.”

Dr. Albert de Villiers, Interior Health's chief medical health officer, said during a press conference yesterday, April 22, he wasn’t aware of the details regarding the store.

Interior Health said in an email it will be checking into it.

Lance Kayfish, risk manager with the City of Kelowna, said Sun City does not have a business licence and has been fined for operating without one.

"It's definitely something we will be continuing to follow up on and further enforcement action will take place," he said.

Kayfish couldn't speak to how many fines the owner has been given but said the owner, Steve Merrill, is appealing current fines and the City is planning to issue more of of them in the interim.

Sun City Silver and Gold Exchange signs against COVID-19 vaccination and mask use.
Sun City Silver and Gold Exchange signs against COVID-19 vaccination and mask use.

Merrill told another reason he has banned mask use in his store is that thieves will use them to hide their identity.

“Masks are very distracting, you can’t tell what somebody is saying, what they’re doing wearing a mask and what we do here is consult people on a financial level and not being able to sense what someone is feeling or saying… is a detriment,” Merrill said, adding he doesn’t wear a mask anywhere he goes.

He's concerned about “viral shedding” due to the COVID-19 vaccine, a popular conspiracy theory.

While it is still difficult to say whether or not there will be long-term side effects of the vaccines, the medical and scientific community is confident in the long-term safety of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, according to Immunize B.C.

“Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus... In addition, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells. Decades of studying mRNA have shown no long-term side-effects,” according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

Last year, Merrill was found guilty for failing to file years of income tax returns after he used arguments in court the judge described as "total nonsense."

READ MORE: Judge says Kelowna business owner's reason for not filing taxes are 'total nonsense,' finds him guilty

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