OHS Canada Magazine

Masks now mandatory at drive-thrus across New Brunswick


By Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

SAINT JOHN TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL

New Brunswick has added another COVID-19 rule: masks are now mandatory at drive-thru windows, a change which will apply across the province.

The change states that as most drive-thru interactions occur within the two-metre zone, masks are required for workers and any occupants of the vehicle who will be within two metres of the drive-thru window.

The change to the rules applies to yellow, orange and red zones, meaning it currently applies province-wide.

Luc Erjavec, vice-president, Atlantic Canada for Restaurants Canada, said the organization is supportive of the change, while noting the change is really more about educating customers since masks were already required by staff.

Advertisement

He said the rule stating that customers should put on a mask is a good thing to protect staff.

“It’s a minor inconvenience for 30 seconds to a minute and not too much to ask,” he said.

While he has heard some opponents say it’s a violation of their privacy because they are in their own vehicle, he said he hopes they can start to see it as protecting those serving them.

Creative protections

Masks aren’t the only measures restaurant drive-thrus have been taking to protect staff.

Some have gotten creative to put more distance between themselves and customers by using extendable mechanical arms or other tools to avoid hand-to-hand contact when passing goods or during the payment process.

Erjavec noted he has also seen less high-tech options in use too, like restaurants passing things over with a hockey stick.

“A lot have used touchless technology even before this. It’s constantly evolving, COVID-19 is just helping to speed things like this up in some ways,” he said.

There have been some questions from staff referencing the issue of customers not wearing masks while being served prior to the change being made, he said.