Request for proof of vaccine simple for some restaurant employees, “exhausting” for others: Andrew Coppolino

At the cheeky sign you might see posted in restaurants – “no shirt, no shoes, no service” – we can add “no vaccination passport” for now.

It has been a few weeks since proof of vaccination and personal identity “records” were required for meals in restaurants and other businesses.

Government requirements came quickly and with few suggestions for restaurants on how to implement the passport and deal with customers who refuse to show their documents.

Although there have been negative reactions, restaurants are reporting that most customers are complying, according to Tim Borys, co-owner of Lancaster Smokehouse.

“So far it’s been fine. It’s funny how quickly people adjust. Most people have their wallets and phones ready, or their passports printed. For our front desk staff, that’s more or less a script that they memorized, ”he said.

At TWH Social at the Walper Hotel, Food and Beverage Manager Michael Hopwood agreed that the process has so far gone smoothly.

“I’m personally surprised about it but also happy. However, it’s a pressure on the job as it’s an additional control besides contact tracing,” Hopwood said.

Karen Elmer-Hammond of Levetto Pizza & Pasta Bar in Waterloo also had mostly positive encounters with customers, she said, adding that they had their files ready when they arrived – with one notable exception.

“We received an email from a lady who does not approve and will no longer support us,” Elmer-Hammond said.

People are divided on vaccine needs

For the most part, I found the process of showing proof of vaccination and ID to be fairly quick and seamless. Large companies have more robust staff and systems, while small moms usually can’t afford it and check-in can be a bit slower.

The response has been mixed for Mynor Garcia, owner of America Latina Grocery & Eatery on Victoria Street. Unsure at first how to handle the demands, Garcia shut down the catering section of his business. But after seeing sales plummet, it recently reopened.

“I think there is a division on how people think of requirements. We have customers who have no problem, but you always find people who claim that we are not allowed to ask for a part. “Identity. We have encountered a few scenarios where people become bordering on agitation and violence against staff,” Garcia said.

It’s a concern for all front-line restaurant workers when it comes to dealing with upset and possibly aggressive customers who, for whatever reason, disagree with restaurant rules.

For companies, it’s all or nothing with the requirements: restaurant owners offer customers to show the documents or place an order to take out, or to sit on the terrace or simply to leave the premises.

Mynor Garcia, owner of America Latina Grocery & Eatery on Victoria Street in Kitchener, said he was initially unsure how to handle the demands and closed his restaurant section. But after its sales slump, it recently reopened to indoor dining. (Andrew Coppolino / CBC)

Call on a manager

Protecting staff has been paramount to Borys and Lancaster management. He says part-time or inexperienced staff shouldn’t have to deal with a restless customer and that they have a straightforward process.

“If something is going normally, staff are encouraged to contact a manager,” Borys said.

Mynor agrees that part of the problem for Latin America could be that it’s both a sit-down restaurant and a grocery store, which could muddy the waters: to get into the former, proof vaccination and personal identification are required; for the latter, only a mask is required.

Needless to say, he’s unimpressed with certain customer behaviors.

“They leave screaming and cursing and saying they’re never coming back. They say they’re going to make sure the business goes down,” Garcia says.

He also shares that there have also been subterfuge.

“Some of my clients that I know by name, so when I see proof of vaccination and ID with a different name, I say sorry, but that’s not how it works,” he said. -he declares.

Asking for ‘exhausting’ evidence

At Thirsty’s Bar & Grill, owner Liz Cunha says the policy of masking and social distancing was initially a struggle, but calls the vaccination card “exhausting.”

“It is a big failure for the government to impose something on restaurants, again, before they have all their ducks in a row,” she said.

“We have very little seating on the terrace, but some of my guests who are vaccinated prefer to sit outside. They’re enjoying their meal when someone taking take-out from a store next door laughs at them and says, “Looks like you.” You’re stuck out, losers. Now we all know who the anti-vaccines are. ‘”

It’s safe to say that there has been an impact on traffic to restaurants, at least in the short term; like Garcia, Levetto’s Elmer-Hammond noticed a slowdown in sales.

“I haven’t seen this so slowly in a long time, and I’m trying to find out if it has to do with the restrictions or not. I would have thought that people who were afraid to come to restaurants would be more in the feel comfortable going out now, ”she said.

This raises the question of what the implementation of the proposed QR code system will look like when it is announced later this month.

Garcia said he only received information and direction from health authorities for the current process two days after the requirements were passed; he is skeptical of the next steps.

“Unfortunately, I have no confidence. I honestly think we took the plunge to start asking for this proof when there was no real system in place. Government offices are late in getting us. know how to do it. “


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