Windsor-Essex restaurants asks patrons to respect staff as vaccine passport mandate kicks in

·3 min read
People are being asked to bring paper or digital copies of their vaccine status until the province's QR code and app system is launched next month. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/CBC - image credit)
People are being asked to bring paper or digital copies of their vaccine status until the province's QR code and app system is launched next month. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/CBC - image credit)

Across Ontario, people now need to show proof of vaccination if they want to go out to restaurants, night clubs or gyms but it does present challenges for the businesses that are being left to implement the policy.

"It's not going to be easy, I understand both sides," said Giovanni Cassano, an owner of Cafe Ortona on Wyandotte Street East.

"But we're just going to try our best to adapt with the times."

For the time being, patrons are being asked to show a printed or digital copy of their vaccine status when entering an establishment — anyone with a medical exemption must present identification and a written document. The province has said it is working on providing people with QR codes which will contain their vaccination records, and it will be providing restaurants with an app to scan them with, but that won't be ready until next month.

A bylaw officer for the City of Windsor told the CBC that both businesses and customers could face fines if they are caught breaking the rules.

Sylvain Roy Roussel/CBC
Sylvain Roy Roussel/CBC

Cassano's biggest worry about the new system has to do with respect for his staff — concerned about that people will harass or using vulgar language when they are attempting to check passports.

"People have to understand that we're in a difficult position and our job is to serve and to serve everyone, but we have to follow certain mandates to get us through these unique times," he said.

"Just understand that we're just doing our jobs and doing our best to accommodate everybody's needs."

Only for the safety of the staff

While some establishments have chosen to close their dining rooms and move to takeout only, a Tecumseh restaurant owner said that while he will be implementing the policy even though it is against his ideals.

"It's a very tricky situation that we're in," said Troy Maleyko, owner of Carrots and Dates.

"It's unfortunate and I think that if it weren't for the staff members that are here, we would not be requiring people to show a passport."

Maleyko is not vaccinated and does not believe in the vaccine as a solution to the pandemic.

"Our position for our company since day one is, you know, you put healthy ingredients in your body, you live an active lifestyle, you surround yourself with a positive environment, I don't see the need the need for a vaccine," he said, adding that he knows its a controversial stance.

"Human rights are at play here as well," he added. "People should have the choice whether they want to get vaccinated or not."

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has reiterated numerous times that vaccines are safe, effective at preventing severe illness, and our ticket out of the pandemic.

Maleyko said customers who can't show proof of vaccination at the cafe will be able to get takeout at a discount and will be asked for their phone numbers so they can follow up with them.

"So that they can understand where our stance is on it, because a good majority of our customers, I believe, are not of the same mindset being mandated from the government," he said.

"So we could be losing customers by going ahead and complying with this mandate, which is very scary."

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