Mandatory vaccine passports offer support to restaurants

Oct 8, 2021 | News

The vaccine passport is a golden ticket to restaurants, gyms, and much more.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 22, restaurant staff — and other institutions — are required to check certificates of full vaccination with government-issued ID when admitting diners to restaurants.

Cactus Club Cafe, a restaurant chain based in Vancouver, followed the protocols that align with the mandate and the process went smoothly. However, other restaurants have run into difficulties.

Maria Lavelle, a cashier at Burger King, says guests show their vaccine passports but fail to wear their masks upon entry.

“Sometimes I’m kind of hesitant [to ask], but it’s part of the rules,” Lavelle said.

As managers confront unmasked guests, those unmasked individuals still get serviced. This worries workers like Lavelle who must work in an environment that does not comply strictly with mask mandates.

Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes, said it worked with restaurant owners “to implement proactive and comprehensive measures” to protect food, employees and customers.

Cactus Club Cafe on Adelaide Street doubled down on their staff to be aware and enforce their protocols.

Patrick Allen, a security guard at the restaurant, said the past week went smoothly. The restaurant took appropriate action to ensure staff and guests remain safe while dining inside the restaurant or street-side patio.

“In terms of any other workday, it was honestly a bit better. I didn’t have any issues nor pushback,” Allen said.

Fully vaccinated guests are those who have a full series of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada, three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, and those who received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before providing proof of full vaccination.

Cactus Club Cafe welcomes individuals with a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or unvaccinated guests to dine only at their outdoor patio.

Paris Finn, a front desk host for Cactus Club Cafe, approves of the proof of vaccination program since it protects those in the restaurant, ensures her safety while at work, and encourages those who needed to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s the push that they needed, for the people who were putting it off until the last moment,” Finn said.

While proof of vaccination is required when dining inside the restaurant, guests and staff are still required to follow all guidelines set prior to Sept. 22, which includes social distancing, the mandatory mask mandate, and contact tracing.

If a medical exemption arises, guests must provide a written document, completed and provided by a registered nurse or nurse practitioner.

Some people had been wary of visiting restaurants since lockdowns were lifted, but the new protocols have helped ease anxiety.

Anshul Jain, front-of-house manager for Cactus Club Cafe, focused on the importance of the proof of vaccination in the restaurant and the prosperity these vaccine passports will hold.

“It’s good for protecting everybody, and I think it’s going in the right direction,” Jain said.

He explained that the process the front desk team undergoes is time-consuming but ensures that all guidelines are met to prevent any commotion or trace of the COVID-19 virus in the restaurant.

“There is no loophole now,” Jain said.

The Ontario government is in the process of developing a vaccine certificate that translates into a QR code. The certification and verification app will be available on Oct. 22.

“It should not be a burden,” Jain said. “It’s a good thing because it will protect everyone.”