Now that the federal election is out of the way, hardcore opponents of vaccine passports have set their sights on food and beverage establishments in Metro Vancouver.
They’re doing this in spite of B.C. government officials pointing out that bars and eateries are required under a provincial health order to verify that patrons have been vaccinated.
Without this verification through the B.C. Vaccine Card program, customers aren’t permitted on the premises of these businesses.
On September 24, the “We Are All Essential” Facebook page featured a video of one of these activists, Samantha H. Flatman, marching with about 50 other vaccine-passport opponents down Robson Street.
“What we are going to do is check to see if restaurants are enforcing the passports,” Flatman, an original organizer of Vancouver Hugs Over Masks, said in the video. “And if they are, we’re going to break off in twos and sit in front of the restaurants with our signs and really make a public demonstration.”
Among the targeted restaurants included a Jugo Juice outlet on West Georgia Street, Cactus Club on Robson Street, Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House on Thurlow Street, and Earls Restaurant on Hornby Street, where one of the demonstrators was arrested.
As police subdued the man, another male protester is heard on video shouting outside the front door.
“Welcome to Nazi Germany,” the protester declared. “This is segregation. Great job, brother.”
On September 25, Coast Restaurant on Alberni Street was targeted.
In the September 24 video, Flatman claimed that the B.C. Vaccine Card program has never been about protecting people’s health.
“It’s been about control,” she insisted. “And this is their coercion tactic to get more people to take the shot because they don’t want to lose their ability to go to restaurants with friends or to go to concerts or sporting events, et cetera.
“But this is slippery slope,” Flatman continued. “This is now a two-tiered society and we cannot allow for that, right?”
At that point, she turned her camera behind her. One of the protesters called on the others to march to Yaletown, where there are more restaurants. Flatman then replied that “further down to Denman, there are lots of restaurants.”
We Are All Essential was founded by Vladislav Sobolev, who's appeared at several COVID-19 protests in Vancouver. He's the group's creative director and Flatman is the managing director.
There are signs that these roving crowds of protesters will be targeting small businesses in other cities.
Another one of the activists, Ryan Kulbaba, posted a message on social media saying “a local pub here in the Surrey / Clayton Heights area that needs education on our BC HR Code!!!!! They only allow jibjabbers.”
Kulbaba added that he needed about 20 or 30 people to join him to visit this pub. “The sooner the date the better,” he stated. “We cannot wait any longer.”
Another Facebook post mentioned that one member of the movement, Yvonne Sunshiney Coelho, plans to organize a picnic on a street, preferably in front of a row of restaurants. According to Coelho, this would make it difficult for pedestrians to pass.
For now, the goal appears to be to do this near restaurants in the vicinity of Mainland and Davie streets on October 2.
These tactics reflect a three-pronged strategy announced by one of Canada’s most famous antivaxxers, Chris Sky, at a rally at Sunset Beach on April 20.
At that time, he urged people in the audience to confront and harass frontline retail workers, defy public-health orders, and block anti-COVID measures in schools.
One B.C. opponent of vaccine passports, Marco Pietro, has been a vocal critic of Sky. Over social media, Pietro condemned recent tactics targeting workers as “inciting violence against innocent people”, “reprehensible”, “abhorrent”, “ignorant”, “harmful”, “unproductive”, “destructive” and “beyond disgusting”.
On September 27, B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced that there were 2,239 new COVID-19 cases over the previous three-day period.
There were an additional 18 COVID-related deaths over the same time span.
More than 300 people are in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19.