Select Calgary-area restaurant owners unwilling to confirm vaccination status of customers
Some Alberta restaurants are moving to an honour system instead of enforcing the province's new vaccine passport system, while others are opting to close their doors to in-person dining altogether after staff were threatened.
The changes highlight the challenging and uncomfortable position hospitality businesses have been placed in following the provincial government's unexpected announcement last week that vaccination requirements must be in place in order to offer indoor dining.
The new public health rules effectively ask bars and restaurants to take a public stance on the COVID-19 vaccination requirement and to ask staff to enforce it. Because it remains optional for businesses, some have become targets of threats and abuse from angry would-be patrons.
Firehouse Bar and Grill in Langdon, just east of Calgary city limits, closed its doors altogether and is electing to offer takeout service exclusively after staff members faced threats over the past weekend.
"It was a no brainer. This is to protect our staff," said co-owner Greg Thompson.
The Pig & Duke Pub in Calgary has posted a notice saying that while it is a "double vaccinated" business, it expects people “will be adults” and not put them in a position where they have to turn customers away.
They say they are checking documents and following all government protocols, and have even lost staff because they were not vaccinated.
Without Papers Pizza in Inglewood posted a similar sign, saying it won't be enforcing the provincial requirements.
CTV News has reached out to the owners of both The Pig & Duke and Without Papers Pizza for comment.
In recent days. hospitality business owners have said they resent the province for putting the onus to police the rules on businesses who have already suffered greatly during the pandemic and enforcement puts staff in direct conflict with at least some of their customers.
Alberta Hospitality Association president Ernie Tsu said in the immediate aftermath of last Wednesday's announcement that the province needs to own its decision and regulate it instead of passing responsibility on to small business.