VANCOUVER – A confrontation is brewing in rural British Columbia between a restaurant and local health authorities over the popular establishment’s refusal to implement provincial vaccination test measures.
Muriel Young, manager and co-owner of Rolly’s restaurant in Hope, said the restaurant will not close its doors or enforce the province’s weeks-long requirement to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entry for non-essential services, even after authorities locals ordered it.
“His health is not my concern,” Young said. “What if I asked him if he was circumcised? That is a private matter. For someone to ask me if I have been vaccinated, they have no right to do so. “
The family-style restaurant is located off the highway in Hope, a district of about 6,000 people about 150 kilometers east of Vancouver. The city was the filming location for the 1982 film “First Blood,” a film about a Vietnam veteran who confronts a local sheriff.
Young said his restaurant was in compliance with all COVID regulations, such as masks and social distancing, until proof of vaccination requirements went into effect. But he said the government cannot legally require people to disclose their vaccination status.
The province instituted the so-called COVID passport in mid-September. The requirement comes by order of the provincial health official. In defiance of government health measures, some British Columbia establishments have said they will not require their customers to show proof of vaccination to enter. Five of them have been punished with fines, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Rolly’s has quickly become the focal point of the problem after refusing to institute the measures, then refused to shut down when ordered by the Fraser Health Authority and the Hope district withdrew its business license for six months.
Provincial liquor authorities also revoked his liquor license on Friday.
The health authority said it “compromised” the restaurant’s owners after the complaints. Fraser Health said that if the restaurant does not close the store immediately, it will take further action.
“If the company continues to fail to comply with the order of the Provincial Health Officer, we will work with our compliance and enforcement partners and the Provincial Health Officer to determine the appropriate next steps,” spokesman Curtis Harling said in an email.
It was not detailed what those measures may be. To reopen, Rolly’s would have to submit a compliance plan to be approved by Fraser Health.
Hope is the last major community out of Vancouver and roughly where the Trans-Canada Highway splits into three directions with the start of two different highways. There are limited possibilities for a stop for lunch or for refueling for at least an hour, making it a common stop for motorists coming from any direction.
Many of them stop at Rolly’s. It often has a line of weary commuters who prefer to wait a few minutes for a table inside rather than grab a quick meal at one of the fast food places on the highway that runs through the city.
Young said she is now being fined $ 100 a day for defying authorities and was told the fines could reach $ 25,000. His son was told they could face jail, too, he said.
He is not concerned that people might catch COVID in the restaurant, he said, because everyone is wearing masks. Public health officials have said that wearing masks should also be combined with vaccination and frequent hand washing.
“Masks are supposed to work, right?” Young said. “If you are vaccinated, what are you afraid of?”
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