Nanaimo restaurateur fears vaccine opponents responsible for smashed windows

A Nanaimo restaurateur believes he's being unfairly targeted by people against vaccines or the vaccine passport, after his restaurant was the victim of vandalism last week. As Emad Agahi reports, he's not the only victim.

A Nanaimo, B.C., restaurateur says he’s worried his business and two others were targeted with vandalism for following the province’s vaccine passport program.

Gaetan Brousseau’s Melange Restaurant had its front windows smashed between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Read more:
Restaurant in Hope, B.C. has business licence pulled for defying vaccine passport

He later learned that two other businesses, the Modern Cafe and Nest Restuarant, had similar damage done the same night.

“Three restaurants the same night, nobody else got broken in, you know it’s suspicious,” he said.

“Two weeks ago I did have some anti-vax people a bit more in my face than usual on that night telling me I’m an idiot for following the rules and this and that.”

Brousseau said the vandals didn’t enter the businesses or take anything.

Read more:
Kelowna restaurant shut down for not verifying proof of vaccination: Interior Health

The province implemented the BC Vaccine Card program last month, which required proof of immunization to access restaurants, cinemas, live sports and performances.

Opinion polls have shown vaccine passports enjoy broad support, but they have proven unpopular with a small but outspoken minority.

Brousseau said he understands that not everyone is on board with the program, and that he doesn’t personally enjoy asking people for the information.

But he said the the regulations are mandatory.

“This is not optional to us,” he said.

“It has to be done. My customers expect me to do that, they come to my restaurant with that expectation and I will do it.”

Read more:
British Columbia has issued 3 tickets for breaking vaccine card rules

Nanaimo RCMP is investigating the vandalism, and spokesperson Const. Gary O’Brien said it was too soon to say what the motivation might have been.

“All we have is that rocks were thrown through, no entry was made into any business,” he said. “We don’t know why it happened.”

Police are also following up with employees and contractors to the business to see if there were any outstanding issues that could be linked to the incidents.

Nanaimo RCMP

Nanaimo RCMP

Nanaimo RCMP

Security video did capture one possible suspect, who O’Brien described as a thin Caucasian man in his mid 20s wearing a light-coloured skull cap, a long beige trench coat and white sneakers. Anyone with information is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP.

In the meantime, Brousseau said he hoped the incident didn’t reflect poorly on his community, or others who might not agree with the vaccine passport but have not stooped to violence.

“It’s not a reflection of Nanaimo,” he said. “And also, it’s probably not a reflection of most people who don’t want to be vaccinated.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories