An Innisfail jewelry store is encouraging customers to remove their masks.
For about two weeks, a sandwich sign in front of Geo. T. Ingham and Son Ltd. has requested customers forgo their COVID-19 masks for security purposes, while continuing other COVID-19 safety precautions.
Owner Garth Ingham said the sign went up after someone with a mask arrived at closing time and joked it was a robbery.
“He laughed. But it wasn’t a big joke. It was scary,” Ingham said.
Ingham said he knew the man, but the incident frightened a young clerk who was working at the time.
The store has been robbed before. Two years ago, two masked thieves smashed down the store’s door in the middle of the night.
“I suffered about a $20,000-$25,000 loss. Those individuals were never identified because of the masks.”
Previous to that, a robber, who came to the store without a mask, was identified and apprehended.
Ingham said it is important to be able to identify criminals as well as witnesses who police may want to interview.
“Masks are not forbidden in here. It’s just if we do need to identify anybody, and everyone is wearing a mask ….”
He said response to the sign has been mostly positive.
“I’ve actually had people come in because they’ve seen my no-mask sign. They are happy they can come into a business and not worry about wearing a mask.”
He said it’s not about being anti-mask. People are not forbidden to wear masks, but pulling them down for identification is helpful.
“We have the hand sanitizer. We have ample room for social distancing. We’re following all the rules. This is simply for protection.”