TORONTO – A new website to help customers find businesses in Toronto with staff who have been vaccinated or those with COVID-19 vaccination policies has been forced to close after people started leaving fake google reviews and to send hateful messages.
According to the website, SafeTO-Do was started in the hope of helping customers make an informed decision about which businesses they feel safe visiting. It lists companies that have announced the vaccination status of their staff or have vaccination policies for high risk environments.
Thirty-eight Toronto companies were listed on the website as of July 20.
However, the website organizer announced later that night that they would be shutting down.
“Every time I add a new business there is a bunch of people (a small minority) who attack those businesses by leaving fake reviews on Google, making bogus reservations at their restaurants, and sending them hateful messages. “, said the organizer on Twitter. .
“So I cannot in good conscience continue to add companies to the website because I cannot be sure that they will not be attacked by the same people.”
The organizer said that when they launched the website less than a week ago, it was intended to be “a resource for those with a lower tolerance for risk and / or medical conditions that made up for it. COVID a high risk for them “.
Not all reactions have been negative. Safe-to-do stated that it has received numerous messages of support from businesses and that one establishment has received over 100,000 views and only had to deal with about 20 negative messages.
“However, I also received a significant number of personal hate messages, including one that I was due to report to the police today. The messages have become increasingly personal, directed and hateful,” they said.
“I cannot in good conscience expose other companies to this.”
Many companies have reported receiving negative feedback after creating their own COVID-19 vaccination policies in the absence of a provincial standard.
Earlier this week, the owner of Chantecler restaurant in the west end of the city told CTV News Toronto that several bogus reservations were made and one-star reviews were left after asking patrons sitting at the bar to show proof of vaccination.
“Creating a six-seat bar policy to keep our bartenders safe and protect us from an epidemic that would surely shut us down for two weeks… these are very reasonable and pleasant steps,” Jacob Wharton-Shukster told the time.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has made it clear he does not support a “COVID-19 passport” or any policy requiring people to show proof of vaccination.
However, on Wednesday, the province’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Table submitted a report indicating that “vaccine certificates” could be useful in helping to reopen high-risk environments such as bars, gyms, restaurants more quickly. indoors and sporting events.