Island service workers facing abuse for enforcing mask rules relieved to have police backup

Island service workers facing abuse for enforcing mask rules relieved to have police backup
WatchCaught in the middle of policing this pandemic, service workers are facing increasing abuse. Kori Sidaway has more.

They’ve been spat on, pushed, and harassed.

“Never in my life have I experienced such push back from guests,” said Austin Everett, who serves in a restaurant part-time as a student.

Service industry workers are facing increasing abuse while enforcing the new provincial pandemic rules.

“There’s an incident where someone spat in a server’s face because they were so disgusted with the policy,” said Ian Tostenson, chief executive officer of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association.

Just this week in the province’s capital, a belligerent guest not only left without paying but also threatened staff after refusing to follow the new COVID-19 rules.

“People berating serving staff for simply asking them to follow the rules, that’s not ok,” said Bowen Osoko, Victoria Police Department spokesperson.

Victoria police slapped the man with two $230 tickets under the COVID-19 Measures Act.

And the restaurant industry is relieved that backup is finally here.

“I’m glad to see that there are violation tickets being sent out,” said Tostenson.

“That’s the only way we’re going to stop a very small minority of small-minded people from doing stupid things.”

The fact is, those working in the service industry are carrying out their job with a much higher health risk, and much more stress than before.

So, if you don’t like the rules?

Restaurants have one message: follow the rules, or stay home.

“You go to a restaurant and it says ‘no shoes so service.’ Most people don’t question that. Now, it’s ‘no mask no service,’ end of story.”


Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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