'I can't put my staff through that': Comox Valley pub owner threatened over vaccine cards

The owner of a Cumberland, B.C., pub closed his business for two days to avoid confrontations over the government’s new vaccine passport requirements but that didn’t stop his business from being attacked online.

Waverley Hotel owner Don McClellan posted a notice on his company’s Facebook page saying his business would be following mandatory requirements to check patrons for their vaccine passports and says he was threatened repeatedly over the issue.

“I’m just a small business trying to get by. One of the hardest-hit [industries] in the province has been hospitality and the fitness industry and we’re both being asked to do this vaccine mandate,” he says.

McClellan says the messages came from a Victoria man who told the business owner “I’m coming after you” and “you know what happened to Nazis.”

He says the comments also became more vulgar and threatening. “You’re going down and I’m going to be on the right side of history and I’m going to have an alibi.”

McClellan has been in touch with RCMP and a spokesperson confirms a file has been started over the threats.

“We’re very concerned about our business,” he says. “If he just wants to harm us on social media, that’s his own prerogative but it sounds like he may be wanting to cause damage to my actual business. It’s very concerning.”

McClellan is also unsure why the individual has targeted a Cumberland business given that he appears to reside in Victoria.

“There’s hundreds of restaurants in Victoria that are following the mandate, unless he’s choosing to harass everybody in the province, I don’t know,” he says.

McClellan also says the province has put pub and restaurant owners in a terrible position.

“It’s a lot to put on a small business,” he says. “My staff has been through so much in the last 18 months, they’re literally afraid to have to do this. I’m going to be the one here for the next while asking people to show me their passport because I can’t put my staff through that.”