ontario vaccination

Ontario bars and restaurants anger patrons with vaccination policies

Since Premier Doug Ford confirmed on Thursday that Ontario is definitely not getting a COVID-19 vaccine passport of any sort, businesses have been taking it upon themselves to determine their own vaccine policies as the province enjoys the beginnings of Step 3 of reopening.

Some bars, restaurants, dance schools and more have already come out to say in recent days that they will not be serving customers — or employing staff — who don't provide proof of full vaccination against the virus in the interest of public health and safety.

One of these is Toronto strip club Filmore's Hotel, management of which told the Star this week "Our primary concern is safety and to allow people to get back as normal as possible, and this is the only safe avenue that we are aware of at this time."

Response to that decision appeared largely positive, perhaps due to the intimate, "social" nature of that establishment, but it seems that other types of businesses opting for a similar route are facing a mix of both praise and pushback.

Oakville's Moonshine Cafe has been one of the first in the province to publicize a "no jab, no tab" rule that mandates guests be fully vaaxxed to sit indoors — a move that has quite predictably enraged some and pleased others, depending on their stance on the shot in general.

While other businesses like Chantecler in Toronto have said the same will likewise apply for their indoor seating, there are then those that are taking a different approach, vowing that they will not be inquiring about their customers' immunization status for any operations or services.

Cabbagetown's Irv Gastro Pub is one such eatery, with owners saying in a tweet on Thursday that they respect each individual's decision about whether to get inoculated.

The bar stated that they "do not think it's any of our business on whether or not your are vaccinated. Your health is your information and not ours," a position that received a staggering 12.2k likes, 2.5k retweets, nearly 650 responses and 300 quote tweets and counting.

Again, as could have been expected, reactions were extremely divided, with some lauding the pub and others vowing to never return again.

"Thanks for notifying Torontonians where ground zero of the next major COVID outbreak in our city will be," one person, for example, wrote.

And soon after, another said "You'll be getting my business very soon. And I'll be at the front of the line when indoor dining starts. #FreedomOfChoice."

A select few even voiced that they will be happy to frequent the business when not only vaccination isn't a requirement for them or for staff, but masks aren't, either.

As the Irv pointed out, putting their policy (or lack thereof) out in the open has garnered them some hate, but there are still many businesses who won't be asking patrons or staff for their vaccination status, they just might not be advertising it.

While small business grapple with whether to create (and share on social media) a vaccine policy of some kind, a number of post-secondary instutions in the province have forged new regulations requiring those living on campus or just attending or teaching classes there to be fully vaxxed.

Provinces such as Quebec, meanwhile, will be making use of QR codes sent with residents' proof of vaccination as a vaccine passport in certain settings and cirumstances, such as to gain access to gyms and events if case numbers worsen or outbreaks occur in the future.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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