Waterloo Region businesses brace for backlash as vaccine passport rollout continues
Although many businesses in Waterloo Region say the vaccine certificate program has been running smoothly so far, they're prepared for that to change.
"We actually had customers coming in and volunteering the information, which was very, very pleasant," said Agnieszka Boekdrukker, owner of The Local Eatery in Cambridge.
Ontario rolled out its mandatory proof of vaccination program for certain non-essential businesses on Wednesday.
While Boekdrukker said it's been so far, so good over the first two days, she expects to deal with unhappy customers at some point soon.
"The reason for that is because of what we've seen with the mask policy," she said. "We have had customers, I would say maybe once or twice a week, where they come in and they're yelling at the staff."
But in the wake of the passport's launch, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said some owners are now dealing with fake bad Google reviews and phony orders from those who are against vaccine certificates.
"Customers are calling in, placing an order and then ditching it and not paying and not coughing up the money," said Julie Kwiecinski with the CFIB.
Businesses are encouraged to have customers pay for their orders upfront to prevent becoming a target.
At Thirteen Food and Beverage in Cambridge, owner Matthew Rolleman said he hasn't experienced those kinds of problems yet.
"I don’t think it's fair for people to take it out on businesses," he said. "We're just implementing what is, just like wearing masks inside. We're following the rules and regulations of the province."
"Any anger or concerns with the policy should be directed at the people who put the policy together, which is the Ontario government," Kwiecinski said.
Meanwhile, The Healthy Rabbit in Cambridge announced it is closing its indoor dining room and only offering takeout.
"We do not feel comfortable asking for customers personal and private medical information nor do we wish to discriminate on anyone based on their race, gender, religion, beliefs or medical decisions," reads a post on the businesses' social media page.
The CFIB said no matter a business owner's position on vaccine passports, they all need more support from the government.