Ottawa businesses face negative reviews, boycott threats for hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics
OTTAWA -- Ottawa businesses hosting pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics say they have received negative reviews and threats of boycotts for helping to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates.
The Orange Monkey on City Centre Avenue and Finnigan's Pub on Montreal Road are among the businesses teaming up with Ottawa Public Health to host vaccination clinics on site.
While the clinics have been well received, the owners have also faced threats for hosting the vaccination pop-ups.
"Leading up to today, some negative feedback mostly on social media. People have put threats on there, some saying they're going to boycott the business, harm me," said Brian Beauchamp, owner of the Orange Monkey.
Beauchamp says they had been promoting Wednesday's pop-up vaccination clinic for four days, and received no negative feedback from customers inside the business.
"People who have been coming here they're saying, 'Wow you're having this. I'm already vaccinated but I'm glad you're doing this,'" said Beauchamp.
"We actually had people come in today that came in because they saw the posters here."
Beauchamp says most of the negative comments were posted to the Orange Monkey's Facebook ad.
The Orange Monkey was offering a $25 gift card to everyone getting a vaccine during the vaccination clinic on Wednesday. In the first two hours of the clinic, 30 people had received the COVID-19 vaccine.
At Finnigan's Pub in Vanier, owner Drew Dobson says 99 per cent of the feedback on the COVID-19 pop-up vaccination clinic scheduled for Saturday has been positive.
"And a very noisy one per cent hostile and negative," said Dobson on Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron.
"I've been called a Nazi in the last week, we've had negative reviews, we've been threatened with a boycott, and many other expletives. But thankfully it's a small minority of the people out there."
Dobson says Finnigan's Pub is an ideal location to help an "under-serviced community," noting Vanier has a lower vaccination rate than other areas in Ottawa.
The COVID-19 vaccination pop-up is scheduled for Sept. 18 at Finnigan's Pub.
"We're just doing our bit to help Ottawa Public Health, and if it's just a little bit of a negative pushback we can deal with it," said Dobson, adding he was "surprised by the nastiness of it."
Beauchamp was asked on CTV News at Noon with Patricia Boal why he wanted to work with Ottawa Public Health to help get people vaccinated.
"From a selfish point of view, I want to stay open. I want other businesses to stay open. I want customers that are regulars here to keep coming to the place that they like," said Beauchamp.
"We can't afford to have another shutdown. It's been devastating."