Ontario-wide website to help local businesses share COVID policies goes offline after facing online attacks

The website was taken down after being rebuffed by a small group of malicious critics.

A website aimed at helping Ontarians make an informed decision about where they feel safe to visit has been forced to close – less than a week after it was conceived.

The main reason for the disconnection was to distract from local businesses targeted by a small voice minority, who appeared to be devoted to leaving malicious reviews and making bogus reservations at restaurants featured on the Safe-to-Do website. .

This is according to the website’s creator, who said in an online statement that they had also received a number of quotes – “increasingly personal, directed and hateful” messages, including one that was reported. to the police.

Originally, the Safe-to-Do website was created following the announcement that the provincial government will move away from the prospect of a vaccine passport. The volunteer-run initiative was designed to give Ontario businesses the ability to provide transparency to buyers; provide a space for business owners to share information and make announcements on staff immunization status, health and safety protocols, and immunization policies.

A number of regional businesses were featured on the website, including Kitchener’s Counterpoint Brewing. Owner Graeme Kobayashi said he has received a mix of “positive and negative interactions” via social media since it was posted to the website.

“We have chosen to make an announcement through the website to say that we are vaccinated, and we are also following general COVID guidelines,” Kobayashi said. “We’re just as safe as we can get. We don’t intend to check our customers for vaccine documents, vaccine passports or anything like that – and we don’t turn anyone away if they aren’t vaccinated.

The brewery owner said he believes part of the problem might be that the website’s intent needs to be clarified by stating that it’s not just for companies with vaccination or screening policies for customers, but also for those who want to make their own protocols more clear.

Kobayashi said he had an open discussion with his small team at Counterpoint Brewing in Kitchener about what sharing this information means for customers. Displaying the team’s immunization status with their consent, Kobayashi said he didn’t think sharing information was “particularly important,” although he understood that it might be helpful for concerned clients. their health.

“We thought they might feel more comfortable frequenting our games room, patio and interacting with our business if they knew we were taking it seriously while protecting ourselves and our families. .

When asked if he believes more businesses in the region should disclose their immunization status and policies, Kobayashi insisted that the decision really depends on the comfort level of the individual business and its staff. While the province may have chosen not to implement a “vaccine passport,” Kobayashi said business owners have the flexibility to make whatever decision they are most comfortable with. regarding their own policy.

“I think overall it has been quite frustrating for local businesses due to the financial losses, the opening and closing (…) and of course the new signage at every stage of the pandemic. “said Kobayashi. “In this case, each individual decides on it is not a bad thing.”

The Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra has also posted its own policies on the same website, stating that visitors should follow local public health guidelines and that all players in the orchestra should be fully immunized. Speaking on the decision, President Elizabeth Newman said the choice to require orchestra members to be vaccinated is “important in stemming the tide of COVID,” as she notes that many of the musicians involved may have their own. health issues that they choose to keep to themselves.

“… Having a safe and healthy working environment is important – not only for their physical but mental well-being. Newman said. “This is why we have developed this policy and this approach. “

Newman argued that this type of policy and immunization status disclosure should be required based on a facility’s level of “interpersonal action or interaction” – as she said places like hospitals , hotels, restaurants and retirement living spaces should be fully immunized and safe. .

“I would like to think the government would play a bigger role in this regard, but it didn’t; they kind of left it case by case, ”Newman said. “Since health is more a provincial measure than a federal one, I think it is incumbent on the provincial government to play a leading role in this regard. “

Since the announcement of the chamber orchestra policy, Newman said she had received no objections or opinions from the orchestra or her community, noting that she was certain there was a broad range of opinions, although “they have not chosen to share them at this point.”

With notes by Luke Schulz and Aastha Shetty.


Source link