OTTAWA – An Ottawa pub owner says his business has so far not seen a dramatic increase in disputes between customers and staff over Ontario’s proof of vaccination system.
Drew Dobson, owner of Finnigan’s Pub in Vanier, told Newstalk 580 CFRA “CFRA Live with Andrew Pinsent” that he thinks most residents understand the system in place.
“We turn some people away, but most people know that if they haven’t been vaccinated they don’t even try,” he said. “On the first day we had a few people who chose to voice their opinions with their server, but she just fired them.”
Dobson says its sales are down overall from 2019, but it’s not just vaccination certificates that are slowing business from the pre-pandemic period.
“Our sales are still down a bit because of other COVID related restrictions. Putting tables two meters apart cuts our capacity in half,” he said. “We’re a neighborhood pub. People come and they meet. They hang out with friends and stuff. Things like masking rules are not conducive to a social atmosphere. They don’t go out to meet people, they can’t get up and dance, they can’t play darts, so it takes some of the fun out of going out to your local pub. “
Dobson said a majority of his customers have understood the system so far.
“In general, people have been respectful and they understand that companies don’t make the rules. We enforce the rules on behalf of the government,” he said.
“There’s no point yelling at your server because it can’t change them. The owner of the business, the same; they have no leeway to make exceptions for you, even if you think we should. We just can’t. “
He added that the restaurant and bar industry bears much of the brunt of COVID-19 restrictions, and that is having an effect on staff.
“They work very hard and suffer more abuse than they should for the pay they get,” he said of the industry. “They spent long hours. They worked when other people were allowed to be at home. It’s rewarding because it’s social work and some people like it, but it’s hard work, especially during a pandemic. “
Second pop-up vaccination clinic planned
Dobson said the more people vaccinated the better for everyone.
He hosted a pop-up vaccination clinic at Finnigan’s Pub last weekend and says he’s working with Ottawa Public Health to host another soon.
“It went really well. I think we were one of the busiest clinics this weekend. Forty-nine people ended up getting vaccinated, many with their first dose, so it was encouraging, ”he said. “We are working with Ottawa Public Health to create a second one so that these people can also come and receive the second dose. “
Finnigan’s Pub is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Dobson said.
“We are a fixture in the Vanier community and we felt an affinity for the community and we wanted to do what we could to make it easier and more accessible for people who wanted to get vaccinated to have this opportunity. ”