After more than a year of dealing with closures and layoffs, restaurant workers now face another challenge: asking for proof of vaccination against COVID-19, a measure taken earlier this month by the provincial government .
On Friday night, a group of people demonstrated against evidence of vaccination requirements on Argyll Street in Halifax, a popular spot for foodies in the city.
At times, the protests disrupted access to restaurants in the area, prompting eatery East of Grafton to create a post on its Instagram page showing employees “standing around Friday night”.
“Local small businesses and their employees are harmed before such exposure,” the post said. The restaurant declined to comment further when contacted by Granthshala News.
Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, agreed. He said it was “sad” to see Nova Scotians act like this.
“Personally, I think it’s very, very selfish. They’re all about themselves. They don’t care about their community, they don’t care about other people’s health,” he said.
“Somehow they feel that their rights have been crushed, but these are the same people who wear seatbelts, and these are the same people who ride on the right side of the road. … They just chose this particular thing, And it’s a very selfish, all about me.”
‘This is not correct’
In a statement, Halifax Regional Police said officers responded at 6:20 p.m. Friday in the area, where a group of people were “sitting on the street eating food.”
Officers remained at the scene to monitor the group and to ensure that protesters were not blocking commercial entry. The group disbanded around 8:30, with no arrests made and no brief crime tickets issued.
“Our approach is a combination of education and enforcement, and we will implement it as necessary,” the statement said.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston has urged people not to blame or harass restaurants over proof of vaccination mandates, telling people to “flip me the bird” during a recent COVID-19 briefing, If they have a problem with it, it’s on the staff instead of taking it out.
“It’s a good message,” Stewart said, “but I think it has to be a lot harder than words.”
“I don’t mind opposing them, that is not the issue. When they interrupt people and harass employees, it’s not fair. It is not fair to the employees, it is not fair to the business owner,” he said.
“It’s the mandate of the province, and we have to execute it.”
Stewart said he would like to see a more proactive approach from the province and police in terms of enforcing the mandate and ensuring access to restaurants.
Downtown Halifax Business Commission CEO Paul McKinnon tweeted a photo of the protest sent to him Friday night, captioned, “Not good.”
McKinnon, who witnessed part of the demonstration after police arrived, said it was “unfortunate” that the restaurant was being targeted for a policy put in place by the provincial government.
“They’re just following the law, the same way they’ll check proof of ID for anyone under 19 who wants to order a drink,” he said.
McKinnon, like Houston, urged people to raise their concerns with the provincial government rather than with restaurant workers.
“They want to have their voices heard and they want to be in a public place that is visible, but they really shouldn’t try to negatively impact businesses,” he said.
“Businesses have been hurt during this entire pandemic, especially in the restaurant sector. I don’t think that’s the way to be most effective at sending their message.”
McKinnon said that overall, he hasn’t heard any pushback from the restaurant industry over the proof of the vaccine mandate, though there are concerns about attracting protesters.
another road bump
Stewart, along with the Restaurant Association, said this creates an “extra burden” for staff and staff, but the need for a vaccine is an “essential step” to keep restaurants safe – especially in other provinces including neighboring provinces with COVID-19 In view of the -19 situation. Brunswick.
“The last thing our industry wants to do is shut down again. It will be disastrous,” he said.
He is optimistic that more people will accept the rule as time goes on, adding that “it’s just a road for us, and people will get used to it.”
In the meantime, Stewart has a message for those who are considering participating in similar protests in the future.
“Stop thinking about yourself. Think about your community, think about other people’s health.”