Beaumont, Alta., bakery ordered to close over 'vaccine passport' rules remains open
A Beaumont, Alta., bakery owner says she’d rather lose her business than stick her nose into that of her customers by asking for their proof of vaccination.
“I refuse to ask for the vaccine passports. It’s not any of my business,” Jen Foster from Bake My Day told CTV News Edmonton Wednesday.
As of Sept. 20, only restaurants that ask for vaccine proof, or a negative COVID-19 test, are allowed to stay open for in-person dining.
An Alberta Health Services closure order was posted on Bake My Day's front door - next to an owner-posted note saying the business is still open.
“If you wish to sit at a table, please talk to a staff member so we can stop being harassed by AHS,” the note said.
AHS suspended Bake My Day’s food handling permit on Oct. 8, alleging violations of COVID-19 safety rules.
Foster acknowledges she let customers sit and eat without asking for their vaccination records.
“I'll let my business go out of business before I ask for somebody's vaccination records,” she said.
“Everything in me just said that this is absolutely wrong, because we all know that vaccinated people can still get COVID, can still pass it along.”
But vaccinated people are a lot less likely to get the COVID-19 and end up in hospital when they do, Alberta government statistics show.
On Thursday, government data attributed 67 per cent of active cases and 72 per cent of hospitalizations to unvaccinated people.
Seventy-six per cent of eligible Albertans over 12 had received two doses.
Foster said AHS visited her location three times asking her to comply. The third time, she was given a closure notice.
An inspector has checked on her business twice since then, Foster said.
CUSTOMERS STILL COMING TO ‘CLOSED’ BAKERY
But the doors haven’t been barricaded, so she’s still making food and said she will keep serving it via takeout, delivery and curbside pickup.
“I’m trying to support my fellow small business person, and I feel like it’s OK to be open right now to everyone,” customer Kathy Austin said, declining to comment on pandemic safety specifically.
“I’m really happy that they’re open and that they’ve decided to not exclude anyone.”
In one of the orders that Foster is accused of breaking, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw writes that the rules are in place because COVID-19 “poses a significant risk to public health.”
“I have the authority to take whatever other steps that are, in my opinion, necessary in order to lessen the impact of the public health emergency,” CMOH Order 44 said.
But Foster doesn’t agree it’s a business owner's responsibility to check vaccine records.
She doesn’t know what AHS will do next to enforce the order, but insists she’s not changing her mind.
“It’s stressing everybody out. No matter which way you go with this, small businesses aren’t winning. We’re not coming out on top,” Foster argued.
On Thursday, Foster closed her shop to indoor dining only in hopes she'd be allowed to stay open.
CTV News Edmonton contacted AHS to see if that means she is now compliant, but a response was not immediately received.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk