anti vaccine passport ontario

Toronto restaurant refusing vaccine passport exemptions and some aren't happy

An uptown Toronto institution and one of the city's most popular wing spots has taken a firm stance on the province's vaccine mandate by only allowing fully vaccinated patrons into their establishment. The move is drawing a mix of support and criticism.

Bistro On Avenue has been a mainstay on Avenue Road for about a half-century, serving up drinks, pub fare, and their famous wings, currently out of 1988 Avenue, between Lawrence and Wilson.

anti vaccine passport ontario

Bistro On Avenue at 1988 Avenue Road. Photo by Jack Landau.

Like much of this stretch of Avenue Road, the pandemic has not been kind to businesses, and owner Cindy Stern is going the extra mile to ensure safe conditions for her staff and patrons.

Many business owners have welcomed the rollout of Ontario's vaccine passport mandate, but Stern's comments to the media suggest she is not convinced that these measures are enough to keep her business safe.

Alleged loopholes in the mandate, including medical vaccine exemptions, have been concerns from day one, and Stern appears unsatisfied by apparent frays in the provincial safety net.

Bistro On Avenue has been drawing both cheers and raised eyebrows for its new policy of not accepting doctor's certificates as exemptions, reserving indoor dining for double-vaccinated patrons, and children under 12 dining with fully vaccinated families.

While those unable to present proof of vaccination are being denied entry to the popular bar and restaurant, Stern is careful to note that the restaurant still serves all, just not indoors. 

Medically exempt and unvaccinated patrons will still be served through Bistro's takeout window at the rear of the restaurant.

anti vaccine passport ontario

The take-out area at the rear of the restaurant, where medically-exempt customers can still enjoy Bistro's fare. Photo by Jack Landau.

Throughout the pandemic, there has been a disturbing pattern of businesses who take a pro-science stance being targeted by peddlers of misinformation. Sadly, this is once again the case with Bistro, which has been slammed with a series of negative reviews, many responding directly to the establishment's policy.

Some are calling this type of policy out as discrimination, a recurring point from those with legitimate medical exemptions, along with the more vocal anti-vaccine passport movement.

Others have been quick to defend Bistro, with some even trekking far out of their way to support the business.

blogTO reached out to Bistro On Avenue for comment, though with the owner likely inundated with reviews and media, the restaurant has yet to respond to requests.

Photos by

Jack Landau

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