Edmonton business faces online backlash after making proof of vaccinations mandatory

Arcadia Brewing Co. has received negative online feedback since its owners announced their decision to make proof of double vaccination mandatory before entry.

“People are mad, real mad, but I get the sense it's a minority of people,” said co-owner Darren McGeown.

The Edmonton brewery made the decision on Sept. 4, when the Alberta government announced a 10 p.m. alcohol-serving curfew for businesses with liquor licenses as well as a $100 incentive for those in the province who had not yet been vaccinated.

“Personally, the big decision for doing this was front line workers, the toll it’s taken on hospitals,” said McGeown. “Secondly, we’ve been through this pandemic now for how long? And the decision the government made on Friday seems like a step back and it’s rewarded the people who aren’t doing the right thing.”

He says the backlash has lowered the brewery’s overall online rating, but believes none has come from local supporters.

Some Google reviewers accused Arcadia management of infringing on their rights, others on Facebook equated the business’ decision to segregation.

But McGeown says the negative reviews will not change his stance.

“Generally, the support has been incredible from people either coming in or messaging me,” he told CTV News Edmonton.

“The past few days people have come in – especially front line workers – have reached out and showed their appreciation, which means a lot to me,” said McGeown.

Arcadia Brewing Co. will require proof of two shots of the COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entry starting Sept.20.