A Perth-Andover man is calling on Tim Hortons and other businesses to get their employees vaccinated.
When Jim Pickett was ordering a coffee at the local fast-food restaurant to take home to his wife last week, he asked the woman serving him if she was vaccinated.
"She said, 'No I don't take that stuff. I will never take that poison,'" Pickett recalled.
He said the employee spoke loudly, and her coworkers heard her.
"They were startled with my conversation," he said. "They probably never expected me to ask."
Other employees said they, too, were unvaccinated or had only one dose of vaccine, he said.
As Pickett stood at the counter, he made it clear he wanted to be served by a vaccinated person.
"Finally, one of the girls said, 'We'll have to get the manager,'" he said. "Then I heard someone say, 'Well, I don't think she's vaccinated either.'"
Pickett received the coffee from the manager but wasn't sure if she was vaccinated.
"I just hoped she was."
'Our town is full of sick people'
The Perth-Andover area has been especially hard hit by the growing spread of COVID-19 in New Brunswick.
Three local schools are doing at-home learning until at least Oct. 4.
"Our town is full of sick people," Pickett said.
He knows of at least one person who has died from COVID-19 and two who are in intensive care.
And if businesses don't get their employees vaccinated, Pickett said, there won't be any employees left.
In New Brunswick, people aged 12 and older will have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and government identification to access certain New Brunswick businesses and events, such as restaurants, coffee shops and gyms.
When Pickett entered the restaurant last Wednesday, he said he was proud to wear a lanyard showing his proof of vaccination.
He felt confident when a masked employee asked for his name, phone number and proof of vaccination.
But there his praise stopped.
"I just think it would be wonderful if they would get with it."
Picket said it's up to businesses such as Tim Hortons to require employees to get their shots, and they shouldn't have to wait for a provincial regulation.
"Tim Hortons in each of our communities is the place to be and everything happens at Tim Hortons."
The restaurant has always been successful with its Roll up the Rim contest and summer camp programs, so why not play "an active part in getting this vaccination thing under control."
Once employees are vaccinated, the coffee shop should get a sign for the side of the building saying so, he said.
"Just imagine what it would do for our communities."
Not a decision for Tims HQ
CBC News asked for an interview with the manager at the Tim Hortons in Perth-Andover, who would not comment.
But in an emailed statement, the business's head office said the health and safety of customers and employees is its "top priority," but decisions about employment conditions are made by the independent owner-operators of the outlets.
"Tims owners have followed and will continue to follow government guidance and directions, so all of the incredibly hard- working team members can continue to be there for loyal guests and feed and fuel essential frontline workers," the statement said.