COVID-19: Elgin, Ont. restaurant says it won’t enforce vaccine passport

Click to play video: 'Elgin, Ont. restaurant says it won’t enforce vaccine passport'
Elgin, Ont. restaurant says it won’t enforce vaccine passport
An Elgin, Ont. restaurant posted to its Facebook page that it won't uphold the province's vaccine passport mandate. Paul Soucy has more – Sep 23, 2021

A small pizzeria in the quiet town of Elgin, Ont., has caused quite a stir.

Amid Ontario’s implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine passport, the Rideau restaurant in Elgin declared on Facebook that it plans ‘not’ to follow the vaccine passport mandate that would have them checking people’s vaccination status at the door.

Owner Brandon Deyo says the move was, in part, because they didn’t feel it was their place to force the vaccine on their staff.

“We’ve never asked our staff anything personal or made them do anything they didn’t want to do,” Deyo said. “We just decided at that point we weren’t going to do it no matter what mandates came forward.

“We were just going to stay the course with how we’ve done business,” he added.

Story continues below advertisement

The restaurant’s position has triggered a slew of comments and reactions from followers, both for and against the decision.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“You have polarization on both sides,” Deyo said. “It’s filled people full of anxiousness and fear, which turns into anger at one another. It divides families, it divides communities.”

But Leeds Grenville and Lanark’s medical officer of health says there is no wiggle room on the matter.

“The role of public health is to provide education and support to businesses as they implement the new legal requirements for proof of vaccination under the Reopening Ontario Act. The proof of vaccination requirements are legal requirements from the province,” Dr. Paula Stewart said in a statement to Global News.

The OPP says they will uphold the Reopening Ontario Act, if and when called upon to do so.

“Should the OPP receive a call for service related to businesses and public facilities requiring proof of vaccination after September 22nd, the OPP will respond and maintain its role to ensure public safety and keep the peace,” Const. Erin Cranton said in a statement to Global News.

Click to play video: 'Ontario’s vaccine passport system starts with crash, criticism'
Ontario’s vaccine passport system starts with crash, criticism

Deyo says he’s not anti-vax — he’s actually been vaccinated himself. He just believes that every individual should have the right to choose whether or not they get the shot.

Story continues below advertisement

He also says the pandemic has had a negative impact on their bottom line and they literally cannot afford to turn customers away.

“There’s a lot of people losing money,” Deyo said. “We know of another business person in the Brockville area that’s had to sell a home to keep their business afloat. We’re a number of months away from having to make some really difficult decisions.”

But he could be out even more money soon.

If the police or public health officials decide to penalize the restaurant, the fines could reach $1,000 — and more for multiple offences.

Sponsored content