Signs encouraging Red Deerians to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic were either stolen or damaged, says the man who set them up in Sunnybrook.
“I had three signs made up saying, ‘Care! Wear a mask.’ I put one on the corner by my home and one across the street from Sunnybrook Grocery, and they were both stolen in about three days,” said 88-year-old Len Roberts.
“I was pretty discouraged by this. I had a place for the third sign, but I was a little too discouraged to put it there.”
The signs were strategically placed in the neighbourhood, said Roberts.
“I’m on Spencer Street and it runs into 40th Street. My corner here was an ideal spot for traffic. The one across from Sunnybrook store is on Springfield Street, which is a busy spot off of 32nd Street,” he said.
Shortly after the first two signs were stolen, Sunnybrook Grocery put a sign on their corner that read, “Masks for sale,” Roberts said, adding this encouraged him to put his third sign out.
“I put my third sign across the street from Sunnybrook store on the lamppost. I went by there this morning and there it was laying on the ground – somebody had smashed it off,” he said Friday afternoon.
“I was repairable, so I put it back up.”
Roberts said he believes it’s important to wear a mask.
“If you’re going into a store, you should be wearing a mask. If everybody did it, you could help muffle all this stuff, but so many people don’t want to wear one. It’s terrible,” he said.
The three signs cost more than $100 overall. But Roberts said he’s more concerned about the message than the expense.
“It’s a struggle trying to keep everyone conscious of all this,” he said.
“I don’t go out too much, but when I do, and I’m in a store, I’m wearing a mask.”
During the provincial government’s daily update on Thursday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said wearing a mask in a public setting “is a useful measure to protect” others.
“The mask can keep those from contaminating people, surfaces and objects,” she said.
Wearing a mask does not replace other prevention measures, such as frequent hand-washing and physical distancing, Hinshaw added.