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Opinion: Burnaby restaurant on 'edge of closing' fears enforcing vaccine passports

But they could get shut down for this
server mask masks restaurant covid-19
The waitress works in a restaurant in a medical mask, gloves during coronavirus pandemic. Representing new normal of service and safety. Disinfecting table, surfaces. Taking care of clients.

The list of B.C. businesses that are threatening to not comply with public health orders regarding B.C.'s looming vaccine passport program is growing.

I’ve seen the list and there is at least a dozen in Burnaby listed on a site that is proudly telling business owners to defy the order.

I haven’t been able to independently verify any of those listed because those businesses aren’t talking.

One restaurant owner in Burnaby did talk to me anonymously about the issue, saying that he is “strongly considering” defying the order.

“I’ve just had it with all of the restrictions,” the owner said. “My business is on the edge of closing. I’ll never make back all of the money I’ve lost. I’m just fed up. The last ban on indoor dining I felt was unnecessary because health officials had repeatedly said few cases were linked to people eating in a restaurant. Now they want me and my staff to get yelled at some more because we have to turn people away who aren’t vaccinated. I’m all for the vaccinations, but putting some businesses in this spot is unfair.”

I don’t necessarily agree with the owner, but it’s an interesting argument. Too many businesses have been whining about personal freedom because they clearly are anti-vaxxers.

This Burnaby owner had a more nuanced take, although I wondered out loud about how it could actually bring in more people who have, so far, been hesitant about eating in a restaurant.

Anyways, these businesses are facing trouble if they don’t comply.

“We expect all relevant businesses to comply with public health orders, and the province will be engaging with them over the next several weeks to support them with this work,” said the Ministry of Health in a statement. “If individuals or businesses do not comply, there are enforcement measures, such as closure, that can be considered.”

Many non-essential business will be required to verify proof of vaccination prior to allowing entry.

The provincial government told Glacier Media that more details on how the program would be enforced will be released in advance of Sept.13.

"We are not going to do this. We are not going to enforce it. I absolutely refuse to do this," said the owner of Ricco Bambino Urban Winery and Garden Bar in Kelowna, Jason Alton, to Castanet, a Glacier Media publication.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said enforcement of the vaccine passport will fall on businesses, much like checking ID for alcohol purchases. The rules will not apply to employees of businesses. Customers will be required to show proof of vaccination alongside valid government ID.

Besides people under the age of 12, there will be no exemptions for those who cannot get vaccinated for any reason. Henry said they are looking at keeping the system in place until at least Jan. 31, 2022.

Proof of vaccination requirements will apply to all sectors identified:

  • indoor ticketed sporting events
  • indoor concerts
  • indoor theatre/dance/symphony events
  • restaurants (indoor and patio dining)
  • night clubs
  • casinos
  • movie theatres
  • fitness centres/gyms (excluding youth recreational sport)
  • businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities
  • organized indoor events (eg. weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops)
  • discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities
  • With files from Castanet

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.