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“If you are stressed about this, if you are angry, if you are upset, if you’re finding that it’s difficult to function in your everyday life, whichever side you are on this, there are lots of services available to help you and I really encourage people to call 211,” he said. “We need to end the stigma around mental health issues that are being caused by COVID and mental health in general in our community.”

Nenshi said racism in Calgary “is getting worse” due, in part, to social media.

“I had to deal with it when I was growing up and I thought that was way in the past and now we’re seeing racial slurs, we’re seeing more open and overt racism in addition to the systemic racism that we’re talking about and it’s just not right. It’s not who we are; it’s not who we need to be going forward.”

Ward 5 councillor George Chahal added it shouldn’t have to be up to the business owners and employees to take the brunt of anti-maskers’ anger.

“The hate, the impact on that store clerk working there, the fear and the impact of that is — does that person even want to go to work knowing they have to deal with that? And they’re running a small business in that community,” he said. Postmedia has agreed not to name the store or its employees for their privacy.

“These types of racist remarks, this is a serious problem in our community when we see that type of response from an individual,” Chahal said. “The person on the other side is just doing their job and there is nothing one could say that would warrant that type of outburst.”

ocondon@postmedia.com

Twitter: @oliviacondon

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