'Better to prevent than cure'
Even in the Winnipeg businesses without a mask mandate, the vast majority of customers still seemed to be opting to wear one.
During a visit to a Dollarama in Garden City, a Co-op grocery store and McNally Robinson Booksellers in Grant Park, CBC News did not see any shoppers without masks.
"I'm still impressed with people wearing a mask because they still believe that wearing a mask is to protect yourself and protect others," Melchie Sumbilla said after her grocery store visit.
She's fully vaccinated, but knows first-hand the impacts of COVID-19, since she was infected in May. She still feels the side-effects to this day.
Melchie Sumbilla said she's impressed by the number of Winnipeggers who voluntarily chose to keep wearing their face masks. (Darin Morash/CBC)
Ben Pablico finds using his mask is a proactive measure.
"I say it's better to prevent than cure later," he said.
"Why can't we do it a little longer?
"Besides, we have lots of spares, so why not?" he quipped. "What are you going to do with this one?"
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Deborah McPhail, who wore her face mask at Grant Park Shopping Centre, wasn't surprised to be among the majority.
"I'm more surprised, actually, that there are people without their masks just because I'm so used to not seeing faces."
Jay Hall was maskless as he waited his turn for the barber's chair in the mall, but it doesn't mean he's against masks. He said he's double-vaccinated and safely distanced from others.
"If I'm around somebody who's vulnerable or somebody asked me to put on a mask, it's right here ready to go," he said, pulling the mask from his pocket. He wore it at the Blue Bombers game last Thursday when walking through the packed crowds in the concourse.
But Hall acknowledged his stance may make other people uncomfortable.
"I mean, some people have definitely given me a side look, but that's to be expected. This is new for all of us again, right? We're learning how to live without the precautions again."
'It's a bit surreal'
In Ste. Anne, southeast of Winnipeg, one person responded to the new rules by tossing his mask in the garbage, after a reporter told him his mask wasn't legally required anymore.
"I never thought it was a good idea anyway" to wear a mask, Keith Dutiaume said.
Keith Dutiaume discards his face mask after learning it is no longer required for entry into indoor, public settings in Manitoba. (Thomas Asselin/Radio-Canada)
A new cannabis shop in the community is leaving it up to its customers to assess their comfort level with masks.
"We've been doing it for so long that it's kind of — I don't know, it's a bit surreal that it's all of a sudden over," said Sean Stewart, owner of AAAAA Supercraft.
"It is a bit strange getting back to that type of a life of, 'Wow, I could see your face. I can see what you're saying with your mouth.'"