safe to do toronto

Website showing Toronto businesses with vaccinated staff shut down after a week

Less than a week after it was created, a website showing businesses in Toronto and Ontario where staff are fully vaccinated has now been shut down.

Creator Brandon Mattalo posted a lengthy thread to SafeTO-Do's Twitter account on July 20 detailing the reasons why he felt he had to swiftly shut the site down. It's already garnering thousands of likes and lots of responses.

"Whenever I add a new business, there is a group of people (a small minority), who attack those businesses by leaving fake Google reviews, making false bookings at their restaurants, and sending hateful messages to them," reads the thread.

"I cannot, therefore, in good conscience continue to add businesses to the website, because I cannot be certain that they will not be attacked by the same people."

The thread goes on to say that this reaction to his site was "truly unexpected" and that it was "intended to be apolitical, and to provide a resource for those who had lower risk tolerances and/or medical conditions that made COVID high risk for them."

Unfortunately taking a quick look at the Twitter accounts of businesses like Chantecler (currently operating as Le Phenix due to a fire, but still tweeting from the Chantecler account) that were listed on the site shows the attacks they've been experiencing as a result of trolls finding out about their policies.

Mattalo also wrote in the Twitter thread saying he had been experiencing personal attacks, "including one that I needed to report to the police today. The messages have become increasingly personal, directed and hateful."

The website had also previously been flagged, it's assumed by the same people sending hateful messages.

He also pointed out that despite the site being shut down, a lot of good came out of it, some businesses receiving a very positive response in comparison to any negativity.

The thread on shutting down the site has been met with a flurry of responses, many applauding the actions of the site and expressing dismay that it had to be shut down because of the actions of a vocal minority, though of course there were detractors as well.

"I am so sorry. COVID-19 has really brought out who we are, for better or for worse," one person wrote. "Thank you for showing us that you care about other people."

"I don't see this as 'defeat'. I just don't think that the goal that I initially set out to accomplish can positively be met, without significant risk. I hope everyone will continue to support their local businesses," the thread concludes.

"Thank you for everyone who supported this initiative. Please continue to be awesome and support your local businesses."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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