Saskatchewan

Regina brewery receives cross-country support after anti-vaccine mandate incident

To go to a restaurant in Saskatchewan, patrons need to show their proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for COVID-19. But one person decided to try and make a statement instead.

Instead of showing proof of vaccination, a would-be customer showed a picture of a middle finger.

Rebellion Brewing has been getting support from across the country after a would-be customer decided to cause "a bit of an incident" rather than showing the proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required by the province's public health orders. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

To go to a restaurant in Saskatchewan, patrons need to show their proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for COVID-19. 

But, as Rebellion Brewing president and CEO Mark Heise describes it, one would-be customer decided to cause "a bit of an incident" on Friday night instead. 

"A gentleman had made a reservation for what we thought was a table of six," said Heise. "When he arrived, when we asked for proof of vaccination, he showed us … a picture of a middle finger. 

"At that point, he wanted to speak to me and wanted to make it very clear that he hoped we went out of business for not letting him stay there."

Heise said he believes the man was just trying to "make a scene," though he ultimately didn't wind up causing much of a disruption. 

"We just let him say his thing, and when he got tired and ran out of breath he walked out," he said. "And that was that."

According to Heise, this is the first time something like this has happened at the brewery. While so far, he's hearing that it is a rare occurrence across the industry, he does worry for frontline staff who have to face these sorts of responses. 

"A little bit of kindness and patience and understanding is what's needed right now, as opposed to getting angry at everyone," he said. 

Heise is not worried about losing this man's reservation, either, as business has been "about as good as it can be in the middle of a pandemic. 

"We seem to be relatively well-known, we seem to be well-respected in the community," he said. "We brewed the Canadian beer of the year, so I don't think you can question the quality of our beer right now."

Since Heise posted about this incident to his personal social media wishing the man who came in with the picture of his middle finger "a happy Thanksgiving, because that is a lot of anger to be carrying around," he has gotten widespread support. 

"It pretty much exploded across the country," said Heise. "We've actually had a ton of people buying gift cards that they would like us to donate to needy causes. That feels really good. 

"There's a lot of things to get negative and sad about, but ultimately to see people rallying around you and supporting you and saying 'hey, we feel for you, this is not right' tells you that you're doing the right thing."

 

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