Local restaurants close indoor dining as vaccine passport takes effect

Ozwelds Diner on Plank Road in Sarnia. June 2021. (Photo from Facebook)

Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine passport is prompting some area restaurants to change business models or close completely.

In a Facebook post, The Ozwelds Diner Company said it will become a take out, delivery and catering facility permanently on September 22.

“We believe that the government is trying to force small businesses out of business by their continued efforts to make us do their job,” the message reads. “We are not law enforcement, by-law enforcement or public health officers. We cannot afford to hire more staff to do the job of these agencies.”

The message goes on to say that the diner will lose customers whether guidelines are followed or not.

“The Ozwelds Diner Company will not survive the loss of more business due to government meddling and will not provide sit down service at its facility at 1440 Plank Rd.”

The owners state that they didn’t sign up to “violate people’s rights” when they opened the diner four-and-a-half years ago.

“If we do not have enough business to pay the bills, once we stop serving inside our facility, we will close permanently and consider legal actions.”

Beginning September 22, Ontarians aged 12 and over will have to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination in order to dine inside restaurants.

The Bagel Factory on London Road in Sarnia announced plans to close indoor seating for the time being.

Marcin Bowl and Lizards Bar and Grill are permanently closing their doors.