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'Abuse will not be tolerated': York Region calls out harassment at clinics, businesses

Staff at vaccination clinics were harassed by disrespectful clients and 'belligerent, hostile, anti-mask protestors,' says associate medical officer of health
Sept. 28, 2021
Joseph Quigley

York Region Public Health is urging people not to disrespect their staff and business owners in the wake of a week full of harassment.

Staff at COVID-19 vaccination clinics were harassed by disrespectful clients and “belligerent, hostile, anti-mask protestors,” according to associate medical officer of health Dr. Richard Gould in a video update today.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Gould said. “We continue to ask residents not to engage in any disrespectful behaviour toward our staff. Any form of harassment or abuse will not be tolerated.”

Gould also asked for respect for business owners enforcing the new provincial vaccine verification system, which was instituted Sept. 22.

Vaccination verification is being required to help manage the spread of COVID-19, he said.

“This step is being taken for several important reasons, including limiting COVID-19 transmission and outbreaks, encouraging vaccination and supporting businesses in staying open,” Gould said. “Please be kind to business owners and staff who are responsible for checking.”

Local businesses have reported some pushback as they enforce vaccine verification, which impacts event spaces, restaurants, cinemas and gyms. That includes a demonstration with anti-vaxxers entering an Aurora LA Fitness Sept. 22.

Meanwhile, public health said it is noticing a trend in child care settings that parents and guardians areĀ  lapsing in completing York Region’s daily COVID-19 screening tool. Gould noted it must be completed every day by those attending these child care spaces or schools.

“I would like to sincerely thank all parents, guardians, and residents who continue to do their part and complete this tool thoroughly every day,” he said. “I understand the added steps it takes to get your children out the door, but screening works and is an important tool.”

The region issued letters of instruction to child care settings and after-school programs Sept. 19, requiring records to be kept for daily screening and barring non-essential visitors.

Gould said public health restrictions must continue to be followed, regardless of vaccination status.

“We all have a role to play in keeping our community safe.”