B.C. restaurant owner faces online abuse from anti-vaxxers over vaccine passport

Click to play video: 'B.C. restaurant owner suffers online threats and abuse for stance on vaccine passport'
B.C. restaurant owner suffers online threats and abuse for stance on vaccine passport
A Mission restaurant owner says he's been the target of vicious online abuse after posting he was going to follow the law when it comes to vaccine passports. As Emad Agahi reports, he's wondering what the government is going to do to protect businesses – Aug 31, 2021

A Mission, B.C., restaurant owner says he is being attacked and harassed online simply for following the law.

Mike Bruic says he built the Pitmasters Real Wood Pit BBQ from the ground up and opened it just three months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Bruic, a veteran, said they are just starting to get back on their feet now but have been doing everything that has been asked of them: limited seating, mask mandates and asking people to show proof of vaccination after Sept. 13.

He said most of the community has been very supportive.

Bruic recently responded to a comment on their Facebook page about requiring to see proof of vaccination for patrons, saying he would do whatever the law tells them to do.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was like hitting a bee’s nest,” he said. “They come out of the woodwork. Death threats, all this kind of stuff.”

Click to play video: 'More concerns about enforcing B.C.’s vaccine passport'
More concerns about enforcing B.C.’s vaccine passport

Bruic said ever since then, a group of people has been harassing him online, calling the restaurant and even ordering takeout and never coming to pick it up.

“It’s gone way out of context, it’s like these anti-vaxxers are a bunch of kids in a playground,” he said.

He would like to see some more support from the provincial government.

“I’m very happy about the passport thing, but you’ve got to do something to protect the businesses,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“They have nothing to protect me. The anti-vaxxers are attacking me on social media, on my Google reviews and all this. They’ve weaponized it.

“And some of these people, they live in Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto, they’re from all over the country so they try to make it look like they’re a big group of people, which they’re not.”

He thinks if everyone worked together they could put the pandemic behind them much sooner.

“If we have to call the RCMP in, we will,” he said.

Premier John Horgan said last week businesses should call the police if they’re confronted by would-be patrons who refuse to abide by the province’s incoming COVID-19 vaccine passport system.

Horgan made the comments Friday, amid vocal opposition by some British Columbians who oppose the new measure.

Under B.C.’s program, people will need to prove they’ve had at least one dose of vaccine by Sept. 13, and two doses by Oct. 24, to access a variety of non-essential services, including restaurants, movie theatres and gyms.

Click to play video: 'B.C. businesses vow to defy government vaccine passport rules'
B.C. businesses vow to defy government vaccine passport rules
Story continues below advertisement

Bruic said he is concerned his business is going to be attacked online over this policy.

He said if anyone does not want to get a vaccine then that’s fine, but you can’t complain about it.

“I’m not going to enforce the law, I’m going to abide by the law and I have no hesitation in calling the RCMP to enforce the law,” he said.

“It’s just like a driver. If you want to drive a car, you need a driver’s licence. If you don’t want to get a licence, take a bus.”

Sponsored content