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VIDEO: Kelowna businesses confronted with protest

A protest march in Orchard Park Mall, and an angry confrontation at a downtown coffee shop. The province-wide mask mandate has further energized people who tend to oppose measures aimed at limiting the spread of the pandemic.

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dan Rogers offers some advice for businesses in an interview with KelownaNow.

Rogers calls it a "small minority", but businesses are finding themselves confronting hostility over the latest COVID-19 measures.

"Communicate as best as you can," said Rogers."So try not to escalate. Be calm when you're dealing with people who are trying to make a point. It will pass. Don't put people in harm's way."

He said that should begin with communication within the business on how to handle these situations.

"When you have a small business you need to have a plan. So this is a different element. So you need to talk about it. You need to communicate with your staff and reach out if you need resources," said Rogers.

On Saturday, the proprietors of the Bean Scene coffee shop at Doyle and Ellis were confronted with a situation they didn't expect when three men entered their shop. Jennifer West said they seemed intent on getting into an argument about masks and to record it.

"They started yelling at me," said West. "Asking who I was, what my name was, if I was the owner. I had my baby with me at the time. They continued filming, they continued to yell."

West said she was scared.

"They came in looking for a fight with us."

There were reports of some verbal confrontations associated with Saturday's anti-mask protest at Orchard Park Mall, but there weren't a lot of problems associated with it. KelownaNow spoke with managers at several stores and they all said the demonstrators stuck to the main corridors and didn't enter businesses.

But failure to follow the mask mandate can get you into trouble. A woman was arrested at Value Village in Kelowna after refusing to wear a mask or leave the store.



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