Public health officials in London, Ont., are still working to educate businesses and patrons alike about Ontario’s new COVID-19 vaccination passport system after a well-known anti-masker paid the city a visit over the weekend.
Chris “Sky” Saccoccia tweeted a video of himself and other people dining inside at a location of burger franchise The Works on King Street.
“When Chris Sky comes to your town, the restaurants will not enforce the vaccine passport,” Sky said in the video posted Sunday.
“Look at this, look how many people we have at the table. We got the whole restaurant. Know what we call that, ladies and gentlemen? Tastes like freedom.”
On Monday, Middlesex-London Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie says the situation has “resolved.”
“The health unit inspected and discussed with the operator… and the operator is now requiring passports,” he explained.
“For individuals, the fine starts at $750 and increases based on repeat offences. For businesses, the fines start at $100,000. So it’s quite a serious penalty and we’re grateful that the operator decided to begin to comply.”
Mayor Ed Holder did not hold back when sharing his thoughts on individuals and businesses failing to comply.
“In our city, like cities across the country, there are some individuals who don’t think the rules apply to them and what they’re looking for is attention,” Holder said.
“I don’t even want to give the chucklehead who thought this was a really clever idea credit by announcing his name, they’re just not worthy. And in fact, they do more harm to our community and they also do harm to those businesses.”
Both Mackie and Holder also provided advice for businesses needing support in dealing with confrontation from patrons or clients who refuse to comply with the regulations.
Holder said that he had not personally heard of situations involving altercations but that “as far as small business, one of the things that the police have committed to locally is to provide support if there does get to be that kind of a scenario.”
Mackie also suggested that the health unit would not issue fines to businesses that are trying to enforce the rules.
“We’re certainly not going to hold businesses accountable if they have customers who are refusing to follow the legislation. Really, if a situation like that arises, the business has to involve the police, especially if there’s any safety risk that comes out of it.”
The Works posted a statement to Facebook on Monday, noting that “there was an isolated incident (Sunday) in a franchise location that has since been addressed.”
“We recognize that the new government mandated Vaccine Certificate program has been a learning curve for restaurants and guests, but please be assured that all government regulations will be followed across all our locations,” the statement concludes.
— with files from Global News’ Scott Monich.