no bull burgers

Toronto restaurant mistakenly gets added to list of businesses against vaccine passports

A list was recently compiled of places in Toronto alleged to be defying vaccine passport rules, but one restaurant had to speak out to say they didn't deserve to be on a map calling out those businesses.

No Bull Burgers had to let people know they weren't anti-vaccine after being being put on a Stop No Pass List map for supposedly not wanting to enforce checking of vaccine passports.

What actually happened was that No Bull simply wanted to keep indoor dining closed temporarily. As the vaccine passport is being introduced, it's clearly been a bumpy transition, and they certainly aren't the first to opt out of indoor dining.

Frank's Pizza House also announced they would be suspending dine-in service temporarily when the vaccine passport was first introduced, unwilling to shoulder the responsibility and potential vitriol associated with checking the passes. The owner's vision is impaired and he was also worried about being able to reliably check passports working alone.

Started by a father and son, No Bull Burgers and has been operating in Toronto for about a decade serving fresh, local, organic burgers and poutine. This week, they posted an "update" to their Instagram page.

"Here at No Bull Burgers we always want to create a happy environment for everyone. It is important to us to treat team members and customers with kindness and respect, and we will not participate in anything that causes discomfort," read the caption of the update post.

"We are an inclusive place that is open to everyone no matter what. Consequently, our dining room will remain closed and only offer takeout and patio seating on a first-come, first-served basis."

Most people commented positively, but one person questioned their motives.

"Because of vaccine requirements? I support the need for vaccines and question businesses near me that are once again putting waiterstaff out of work," one person commented.

"Staff that had to enforce mask and sanitation requirements, limit number of patrons , enforce age of majority and cut off serving but only now owners say oh, its not fair they have to ask for vaccine proof."

"We're doing the exact same thing that we've done from the start of the pandemic, and that is to keep our indoor dining closed - we don't offer table service btw," the restaurant wrote back.

"Oddly enough we've had to hire more than our usual staff numbers during the pandemic. We are so grateful for our customers and being able to provide people with jobs when there were so few. With all that said, we hear you loud and clear. Thanks so much for commenting. Stay safe." 

Someone posting the Stop No Pass List map to a local Facebook group said that after doing so, they noticed comments saying No Bull shouldn't be on it, including one from the owner, which they posted as a screenshot.

"Our social post has stirred up some strong emotions. This was not the intention of the post nor was it to side with any divisive group's beliefs," reads the screenshot of the owner's comment.

"The goal of the post was to promote the restaurant and let everyone know that nothing has changed."

No Bull is no longer on the Stop No Pass map. Owner Tony Tsakanikas describes himself as "at the mercy of the decision-makers" and says his staff of 13 is his main priority.

"Our team has followed the safety and sanitization protocols the best we can to remain open to serve our community. Our goal was to be on the right side of this pandemic by paying all of our bills and not laying off anyone," Tsakanikas tells blogTO.

"To do this we even started an online butcher shop in collaboration with our suppliers called The Butcher Guys to serve our community and in the process pay the bills. We as a team have decided to continue to keep the dining room closed as it has been for the last 18 months to continue to protect our staff, so that's what we will do."

To say there have been a lot of big changes recently would be an understatement, so it totally makes sense that it would be hard to keep track. But some businesses actually haven't changed what they're doing at all for their own reasons, and don't deserve to become scapegoats before getting all the facts.

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