Calgary hospitality businesses say they're facing backlash for provincial decision
Pubs and restaurants say they've been left to take the brunt of the backlash for the province's vaccine passport program, including threats and abuse from would-be guests.
"I've lost a third of my staff because they're not vaccinated," said Jo Lowden, co-owner of the Pig & Duke pubs. "I don't think people realize this is not us mandating this. This is the government being cowards and putting it on us."
Lowden said they are checking proof of vaccination or negative tests, and even went beyond those minimum requirements to make sure all staff were immunized.
She added that the province's vaccine passport rules gives the appearance of a choice for business, when in reality it's no choice at all.
"I mean we can't be open in the fall and winter with 30 seats on the patio, so we don't really have a choice," Lowden says.
A cheeky sign posted at the pub's entrance encourages people to be adults and not put staff in a position where they need to ask would-be customers to leave.
Late Wednesday afternoon the city passed a vaccine mandate bylaw meant to apply a uniform set of requirements and clarify the provincial mandate which many organizations and businesses have complained are difficult to understand.
But the new bylaw won't help businesses outside city limits.