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PEARL’S (Pet Care) owner, Forres calls for anonymous letter writer to explain face mask accusation

By Garry McCartney

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Pet Shop owner Pearl Hamilton has received an anonymous letter accusing her of ignoring the right of people who chose not to wear a face mask.
Pet Shop owner Pearl Hamilton has received an anonymous letter accusing her of ignoring the right of people who chose not to wear a face mask.

A LOCAL shopkeeper is calling for an anonymous letter writer to explain why they have falsely accused her of breaking coronavirus laws regarding face masks.

PEARL’S (Pet Care) owner and Federation of Small Businesses national councillor for Scotland, Pearl Hamilton, was shocked when she read a note pushed through her doorway signed “Friends of Forres” implying that she has unlawfully banned people without masks from her Tolbooth Street premises.

She said: “I couldn’t understand why someone felt the need to set themselves up as an adviser to my business regarding the use of face coverings. I also felt that there was a threatening undertone to the letter.”

The letter which addresses “Dear friends” says: “Some policies have been put in place in certain businesses that denies entry to those exempt from wearing a face mask unless they disclose private medical information or display exemption cards. We are writing to express our concerns regarding the increasing reports from people being excluded from local shops due to their lawful exemption from wearing a mask. Being challenged and/or denied entry can be humiliating and stressful. Saying “I’m exempt” is enough and if the response to that can be proven to be discriminatory then compensation is due.”

They add that a business has already paid £7000 in compensation to a woman with disabilities who was refused access to a service because she was unable to wear a face mask.

“If this is a warning, it is totally unnecessary,” said Ms Hamilton.

“I’m fully aware of my responsibilities, taking guidance from Scot.gov., Federation of Small Businesses and Moray Council, and have introduced a raft of measures to ensure the safety of my staff and customers. I have never, and never will, refuse entry to someone exempt from wearing a face mask.”

Ms Hamilton was also upset to read a request from the writer for her to “consider those who say they are exempt with compassion and kindness”.

She said: “I treat all my customers with compassion and kindness. I have served the people in this area for almost 40 years, and have had to implement many changes to my business as a result of various legislation. If Friends of Forres would like to provide me with a name and address, I would be happy to reply.”

During the pandemic specialist pet shops have stayed open as they are classed as essential for the needs of animals and mental wellbeing of owners.

“We go out of our way to ensure that some of our more vulnerable customers are provided for,” said Ms Hamilton.

“To suggest that we might be discriminatory is ludicrous or should I say ridiculous!”

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