A Canadian restaurant was temporarily shut down after it was caught accepting dog photos instead of proof of vaccination against Covid-19 or a negative test.
The Granary Kitchen in Red Deer was ordered to close by Alberta Health Services last Friday after the department initiated an investigation on 11 January following complaints about the restaurant.
The health agency said they sent two test diners on different occasions into the restaurant who were able to enter the dining room by showing their ID and a photo of a dog instead of a vaccine pass or a negative test.
Restaurants and bars in Alberta are required to ask those over the age of 12 to show proof of vaccination, a negative test from the last three days, or proof of a medical exemption.
The seven-day average of new daily cases has recently skyrocketed in Canada from 3,400 on 10 December to 46,750 on 10 January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“In both instances, facility staff used a tablet to make it appear as if they were scanning a QR code when in fact the staff member was presented with a photograph of a dog,” Alberta Health Services said. “The staff member then proceeded to ask the test shopper for personal identification and offered dine in services.”
The indoor dining room at The Granary Kitchen was ordered closed until the owner could ensure that the restaurant would comply with Alberta restrictions. The eatery had to train their staff in how to enforce the rules, and the owners had to attend an administrative hearing with Environmental Public Health to show that they were in compliance.
“To our valued guests, we had an unfortunate circumstance at our front door which involved one of our underage hostesses, and the requirements for the REP program,” the restaurant wrote on Facebook on Friday. “We are taking the weekend to retrain and regroup. We look forward to serving you again as soon as we are ready to reopen.”
“In closing, we would like to remind everyone of the tremendous pressure being placed on front staff, and please remember to be kind,” they added.
The order to close the indoor dining area was rescinded on Monday via a letter from the health department, and the restaurant reopened its doors the same day.
One of the owners of the restaurant, Patrick Malkin, told CNN on Wednesday that the health authorities were “very pleased” with the measures taken by The Granary Kitchen.
“These are difficult time for restaurants in Canada and abroad,” Mr Malkin said. “We look forward to better days ahead for the industry as a whole.”
“This was a staff issue and not a company policy,” Mr Malkin told the Red Deer Advocate on Friday, adding that the issue had “already been addressed”.
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