Bystanders were shocked by a man screaming profanities at the staff of the Chinese Garden Restaurant in Blind Bay on Aug. 7, 2020. (Amanda Toms/Facebook)

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

If you can’t be respectful and follow the rules, you may not be welcome at B.C. restaurants.

This is the general message behind a campaign being launched by the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association in response to concerning incidents that occurred recently at several establishments, including the Chinese Garden Restaurant in Blind Bay, where an enraged customer verbally lashed out at staff.

A video of the one-sided exchange went viral on social media.

*This video may be distressing to some viewers*

News of another incident at a Mr. Mikes in Langford, where the restaurant said guests became belligerent when asked to follow COVID-19 policies, prompted comment from B.C. Premier John Horgan.

“To have idiots come in and be idiots is quite frankly not acceptable,” he said. “It’s not acceptable to abuse people when you’re going out to have a meal … People are just being stupid.”

BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association president and CEO Ian Tostenson called what he saw in the video at the Shuswap restaurant “disgusting,” noting such behaviour only exacerbates what is already a challenging time for restaurant owners.

“So we’re drawing a line, we’re starting a campaign… which is basically telling people if you can’t follow the rules then stay home because we’re not at all interested in trying to accommodate self-serving, narrow people that are putting their interests ahead of public safety, and putting business owners and their staff into a stressful environment,” said Tostenson, adding the majority of people are respectful and grateful to be able to be able to dine out or order in.

Though upset by what occurred at the Blind Bay restaurant, South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce executive director Karen Brown called the incident atypical. Brown said she contacted the restaurant’s owner who said they were fine. She added that she and other chamber members would be paying the restaurant staff a visit to show they’re loved.

Brown noted the chamber launched its own campaign this spring, Kindness is Contagious, as a reminder that this is a difficult time for many, and encouraging people to be respectful of one another.

“Let’s just take a deep breath here and follow the words of the provincial health officer, don’t judge, be kind and we’re all going to get through this together,” said Brown. “That’s really what it’s about.”

Brown is proud of the South Shuswap business community’s response to the pandemic, and said everybody is trying their best to keep visitors and staff safe.

Canoe Beach Cafe co-owner Jim Dunlop said they’ve had the odd irate customer over the year years. For some a menu item was renamed in their honour.

“So we’ve had Mr. Cranky Pants burger for a while…,” laughs Dunlop. “The thing is, if I did that this year, I would run out of food options to name.

“Maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit; we’ve probably had five or six, as opposed to one or two people who have really lost it.”

Dunlop said he and his wife Joyce have taken numerous steps to meet and exceed COVID-19 health and safety requirements at the cafe as both of them are immunocompromised.

“She’s just a walking miracle, she’s a three-time cancer survivor, she’s down to one lung, so can you ever imagine if we did contact COVID-19?” said Dunlop.

As a result, however, food service can be slow – something they explain in advance to their customers, the majority of whom are understanding.

Though optimistic about the future of the cafe, Dunlop is concerned for other B.C. restaurants that have been struggling under COVID-19.

“That’s why my message to everybody has just been lighten up, take a breath and try to think of what that other party is going through…,” said Dunlop, adding there’s no excuse for the hostile behaviour. Regarding the man hurling hostilities in the video, Dunlop said he hopes it was a learning experience, that he apologizes and gets whatever help he may need.

Read more: Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Blind Bay restaurant

Read more: ‘Just being stupid’: B.C. premier slams abusive customers at Greater Victoria restaurant

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

It happened this week in 1913

Sept. 13 - 19. Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

BC Wildfire Service lifts area restriction around Doctor Creek fire

The BC Wildfire Service has lifted an area restriction around the Doctor… Continue reading

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read