Bar smoke sickened store employees
Workers at a local childrenâ€™s clothing store were made ill recently because of bar smoke wafting in through a back door.
Jenn Musil, manager of Please Mum on Main Street, said her employees were complaining of coughing, chest pains, stiff necks and sore throats because of smoke coming in through the storeâ€™s back door, which is across from the Discovery Bar.
When employees went home, she said in an interview this week, the symptoms disappeared but then returned when they were back at work.
"We always had a stale smell in here, but for the last three weeks the smoke in here has been very bad," said Musil.
She suspects the buildup in smoke has been brought on by the increased advertising of the bar.
A few weeks ago, the bar began sidewalk advertising a smorgasbord, which has led to more traffic in the bar. Since then, working conditions have been made unbearable, Musil said.
As a result, the smoky conditions got so bad, the store was shut down for a day.
Musil, frustrated by the poor working conditions, asked her motherâ€™s friend, whoâ€™s affiliated with the territorial workersâ€™ compensation compensation board, to test the storeâ€™s air quality.
The friend told Musil the store needed to be properly ventilated. But when Musil went to the landlords of Please Mum, the owners of the Bonanza Inn, she was told the problem was fixed and was asked to use a pre-existing air switch.
However, the system wasnâ€™t offering employees enough fresh air, said Musil, adding a quick call to Please Mum headquarters in Vancouver got the problem solved.
"Theyâ€™re putting our health ahead of cost," said Musil.
Please Mum is now footing the bill for a new ventilation system in the store, which was to be installed today.
Since Please Mum rents the space from the hotel, Musil is hoping hotel owners will pick up the tab for the renovations.
But Musil said that issue hasnâ€™t really been discussed with the owners, adding hotel officials have not been overly co-operative in wanting to deal with the issue.
Musil isnâ€™t sure how much the new ventilation system will cost, but she is guessing it is thousands of dollars.
In the meantime, the door, which leads to the bar, has been sealed so less smoke can seep into the store.
"So itâ€™s not as bad now," said Musil.
Although all Whitehorse bars are required to be smoke-free by Jan. 1, Musil said employees of the store could not wait that long for the problem to go away.
"We were too sick," she said.
Hotel owners could not be reached for comment on the situation.