Evidence of vax being pushed to the fringes of the local commercial sphere



Board Game Paradise A Muse N Games prides itself on being a safe space for all tabletop enthusiasts. So when the province dropped its proof of vaccination and mask requirements last month, the Winnipeg-based company decided to continue playing the vax card.

He is now among the last in town to continue to request proof of COVID-19 vaccination for services.

Although it primarily serves as a retail store, it also hosts regular in-store play sessions – in-person meetings that can last for hours.

“We have a group of children aged 8 to 12 who play Dungeons & Dragons (weekly). Do I want to be that community place where these kids end up getting COVID and what impact does that have on the rest of their lives?” co-owner Brian Mitchell told the Free Press on Wednesday.

The decision has been reinforced over the past month, Mitchell said.

The business barely made it after an exposure caused by a COVID-positive person entering the store without a mask, resulting in a colleague contracting COVID-19 and self-isolating for 10 days and another staff member had to quit his job due to health complications caused by the coronavirus, he said.


JESSICA LEE

With the rise of more transmissible variants, having players unvaccinated is not something A Muse N Games owner Brian Mitchell is willing to accept. (Jessica Lee/Winnipeg Free Press)

With the rise of more transmissible variants, Mitchell said having unvaccinated players isn’t something he’s willing to accept, despite the fallout.

“One of our core values ​​is inclusivity, and we’re excluding people who aren’t vaccinated from in-store play right now. And that doesn’t feel good. That’s not what A Muse is about. N Games, we don’t exclude people,” he said.

It has become an increasingly harsh position.

The vast majority of local businesses — even those that kept the rules in place after the province scrapped the vax proof requirement on March 1 — have slowly but surely abandoned use of the cards and apps system. of Manitoba,” said Loren Remillard, Executive Director of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. mentioned.

“As people have generally become more comfortable, more and more have decided to remove it as a requirement. It’s just not something I hear a lot about, to be honest,” he said. -he declares.

Crowdsourcing online database local business lists only 11 that have vax proof requirements, as of March 15, the last time it was updated.

According to Manitoba Restaurant & Foodservices Association CEO Shaun Jeffrey, of the roughly five per cent of restaurants that continued to request proof of vaccination after it was no longer mandatory provincially, less than two per cent maintained this policy until April.

“Horrible” harassment and bullying of staff by a strong minority played a big part in that decision for many, he said.


The West End Cultural Center has continued to ask for proof of vaccinations since the mandate was dropped, and most people have been understanding, says artistic director Jorge Requena Ramos.  (Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press)

The West End Cultural Center has continued to ask for proof of vaccinations since the mandate was dropped, and most people have been understanding, says artistic director Jorge Requena Ramos. (Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press)

“You have a 16-year-old hostess standing in the front who has to tell people they can’t come into your restaurant because they don’t have a vaccination passport even though the government doesn’t require it. more. And then they get the brunt of it,” Jeffrey said.

“Many operators said they simply chose not to because they didn’t want their staff to suffer a backlash.”

At the West End Cultural Centre, attendees must always show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to attend a performance. The venue has continued to demand it since dropping the mandate, and most people have been understanding — except for a few naysayers, said artistic director Jorge Requena Ramos.

“We’ve had some mean people about it. But for every selfish, mean person who comes to complain, there are 10 people who thank us for (demanding) vaccines and masks,” he said. .

It’s a “very basic human, lowest common denominator” choice to make, Ramos said. He suggested venues be in a single location – where some who dropped mandates in agreement with the province could bring them back as artists begin to choose to only perform in venues with such rules in place .

“They’re going to have to if you want to bring these artists. There’s no way.”


Masks are also always required at A Muse N Games.  (Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press Files)

Masks are also always required at A Muse N Games. (Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press Files)

At A Muse N Games, Mitchell said a small handful of people over the past few weeks have come in and immediately left when asked to put on a mask or provide proof of vaccination. The vast majority were understanding, he said, adding that the company will continue to review the rules month by month.

“Is it possible that we’re losing money because we’re doing this? Yes,” Mitchell said. “At the same time, is there a segment of the community that absolutely appreciates that we choose to continue doing this? Yes, absolutely.”

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the province did not say whether it plans to discontinue the vaccine passport authentication app, adding that it assesses the continued need for it.

[email protected]

Malak Abas