Business owners face confrontations and plead for passport compliance
The owners of the Fireside Grill & Bar said they were ready to check customer vaccination records Wednesday.
And, given their positive experience regarding masking rules earlier in the pandemic, Co-Owner Tom Imeson was not expecting confrontations.
“Part of it is the way you handle it. You can’t get your back up, you've got to stay calm.”
But, just seconds later, as his interview with CTV News London wrapped, Imeson's tactics had to be put to use.
At the front of the restaurant, his business partner Jeff Rowe, had an encounter with an agitated father and his adult daughter angry they were asked to show their vaccination record.
“They basically said we’re not coming back and we’re leaving!” Rowe explained.
He hopes the pair, and others who may follow, come to understand they are not the only eatery refusing eat-in service to those who will not produce their passport.
“You’re not going to another restaurant unless they’re breaking the law.”
Jeff Rowe and Tom Imeson are seen seated in their restaurant, the Fireside Grill and Bar, in London, Ont., Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)
While it is true patios remain available to the unvaccinated, Wednesday’s weather is not cooperative.
A workout on the patio is also not an option at London’s Fitness Forum.
The gym on Southdale Road East marked its first day welcoming only vaccinated members. One of them, Tony Vandello, says he applauds vaccine passports.
“I have had the COVID, I know what that’s like, so this a great thing to do.”
Vandello did not contract the virus at Fitness Forum, where owner Alex Pinchin says he has worked to ensure pandemic regulations are met.
Tony Vandello, a member of the Fitness Forum gym on Southdale Road East in London, Ont. is seen while working out on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Vandello battled COVID-19 earlier this year. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)
Pinchin remains frustrated the new rules are not clearly laid out. He also worries about his staff potentially facing an agitated, unvaccinated member.
Still, over the morning hours Wednesday, no confrontations had occurred.
Pinchin says well less than one per cent of memberships have been cancelled over the implementation of vaccination passports.
“We had some people that have emailed us with very poignant discussion about how they disagree, but we have not had that on-site yet.”
And on the contrary, Pinchin believes passports will convince a few members, frightened off since the pandemic began, to return.
“We’re hoping this is the event that puts them in that frame of mind.”
And a new frame of mind is what all business owners impacted by passports must now face.
Back at the Fireside, Rowe implores everyone to not harass his staff for a measure they must follow.
“This is the choice that we have to take to stay in business and stay open.”
Sue Reaume is seen inside the Fireside Grill in London, Ont. on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)
And Customer Sue Reaume is among the majority of clientele happy to comply.
“I think it’s a great idea, it should be done. If you’re vaccinated you don’t have any issues.”