'They both flipped out': Witness says Saskatoon restaurant worker was assaulted after requesting proof of vaccination

An incident that was sparked when staff at a Saskatoon restaurant asked two customers for proof of vaccination escalated to the point of violence, according to a witness.

Curtis, who preferred not to give his full name, says he was having lunch with friends at TailGatorz Sports Bar on Saturday afternoon when two women came in wanting to play the VLT.

“The server asked them for their proof of vaccination, which they didn't have, and they were told to leave because of the new rules and they refused to leave,” he said.

Under a public health order that came into effect as of Oct. 1, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required in many Saskatchewan businesses and locations — including bars.

“They both flipped out and started yelling, swearing at the staff.”

Curtis claims one of the women hit an employee, “an older woman who was working by herself in the lounge."

When more staff tried to help diffuse the situation, things escalated.

“They lost it. They were knocking things over, they were yelling in everybody's faces,” he said.

“One of the women full-on attacked the female staff member, like just hitting, [grabbing] her.”

'I WAS SPAT ON'

Curtis said he jumped up at that point and tried to help.

"I kind of grabbed the person off and kind of like tried to restrain them. I was spat on, they spit on me, scratched me up, hit me as well.”

It was at that point, Curtis says, that the situation escalated even further.

“They mentioned that they were going to shoot everybody, and somebody challenged them on it, and the one lady kind of reached into her bag and pulled out what looked to be like a pistol case.”

He says she pulled out what looked to be a pistol, and Saskatoon police arrived to take over the situation.

POLICE RESPOND

In a statement, Saskatoon Police Service said officers responded shortly after 3 p.m. to TailGatorz and a pellet gun was seized.

“The complainant did not wish to provide a statement to police or pursue charges so no charges were laid at the time. Investigators are continuing to follow-up on the firearm aspect of the investigation.”

According to police, a woman reportedly refused to leave the restaurant but was gone from the scene when police arrived.

Curtis says he isn’t surprised about these kinds of issues arising from proof of vaccination policies.

“It's going to cause a lot of really angry and unpleasant experiences for restaurant hostesses and waiters and waitresses because they have to enforce these rules,” he said.

The incident has caused him some anxiety about going to restaurants.

“It was a very disturbing extreme situation where I've never seen anything like that before in my entire life,” he said.

Saskatoon Police say if people wish to report problems about requesting proof of vaccination, they are encouraged to call the Public Health Inspectors at 18555595502. In issues where public safety is a concern, the public is asked to call police.