With the province’s announcement that proof of vaccination will be needed to access non-essential services, local businesses are taking the brunt of people’s frustration.
Recently, an Instagram account surfaced called discriminatorybusinessesbc, where businesses in B.C. that will require proof of vaccination from patrons are publicly shamed. Followers are being asked to boycott businesses profiled on the account.
Kelowna restaurant Frankie We Salute You was recently profiled by the account, alleging the restaurant supports “segregation.”
Owner Christina Skinner said it all started when plans for the vaccine card were announced on Aug. 30.
“We started receiving inquiries from people asking about what our status (on the card) would be and saying if we were choosing to follow the mandate, they would boycott us and encouraged others to do the same,” she said.
“That’s an interesting choice of words. ‘Choosing to follow the mandate’? It’s not like businesses have much of a choice on the matter.”
Skinner said instead of ignoring the threat, they decided to respond.
“We said we don’t actually know what the mandate will entail. We don’t know what the expectations are, how it will work.
“Rather than understanding the situation, they chose to accept that we would be ‘supporting the mandate’ and they chose to boycott us, shame us on social media by saying we’re supporting discrimination.”
She said this isn’t the first time boycotts and threats have happened at Frankie’s, either, with the restaurant’s staff being harassed before by anti-maskers.
“It’s a very small percent of the population, but they’ve just made my staff’s quality of life miserable. My staff have been insulted and threatened and even if that just happens to someone once a week, that’s still a lot. It’s exhausting,” she said.
But just like the community rallied around them when Frankie’s was targeted by anti-maskers, Skinner said they have received an outpouring of support recently too.
In the end, she said asking if businesses are “following the mandate” is not the question to ask.
“If there’s a problem with the government mandate, then take it to your vote. Instead of punishing small businesses, we should ask ‘What am I doing to support businesses, what am I doing to support health care workers and what am I doing to take care of the sick and the elderly?’”