Wellington homewares store owner says sign 'welcoming' maskless shoppers wasn't 'discouraging' mask use

A Wellington homewares store owner has changed the signage on their entrance to make their "intent clearer", following an upset shopper snapping a photo of a sign saying they "welcomed" shoppers without masks. 

Wellington woman MaryRose Painter posted a photograph of a sign taped to the door of Johnston Street stalwart Cranfield's, which stated: "We do not discriminate. We welcome shoppers without masks." 

Painter captioned her photo: "Ummmm this seems legally questionable." 

But store owner Nicola Cranfield told Newshub the sign has since been removed and its intent wasn't to discourage the use of face coverings. 

"We prioritise the wellbeing of our long-standing and loyal customers, some of whom have conditions that make wearing a face-covering unsuitable," she explained. 

"All of our employees are wearing face coverings in accordance with [Ministry of Health] requirements, and we encourage our customers to determine what is best for them, and to trust they are acting within MoH requirements themselves.

"Cranfield's has been a part of the Wellington community for 30 years now, we are fully supportive of measures to keep our community safe from COVID-19."

On Tuesday Cranfield told Newshub she'd changed the sign to one with "updated language" to make the intent clearer. 

Wellington homewares store owner says sign 'welcoming' maskless shoppers wasn't 'discouraging' mask use
Photo credit: Supplied.

According to the Ministry of Health, while Wellington remains in alert level two, face masks are mandatory inside retail stores, with exceptions for those with medical reasons or disabilities. 

Upon Wellington's move to level 2 earlier this month, a post on the Cranfield's Facebook page also clarified masks were to be worn by shoppers. 

"We can't wait to welcome you back into our stores," the September 7 post read. "We'll be open our regular hours, please bring your favourite mask." 

At the time of publishing, Painter's tweet had racked up hundreds of likes and comments from other Twitter users angry at the messaging while Auckland remains at higher alert levels. 

On Monday, 22 new community cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Auckland.