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Kelowna restaurant vandalized after customers told to leave for not producing COVID-19 vaccine cards

The Wings restaurant in Rutland was vandalized Thursday night shortly after a group of teens was asked to leave for not having proper COVID-19 vaccine cards.
The Wings restaurant in Rutland was vandalized Thursday night shortly after a group of teens was asked to leave for not having proper COVID-19 vaccine cards.

The manager of a Rutland restaurant says she doesn’t understand people’s intentions after the establishment was vandalized shortly after she turned customers away for failing to produce COVID-19 vaccine cards.

On Thursday night, Oct. 14, manager Michele Saraceni of Rutland’s WINGS Tap & Grill said she dealt with four unruly teenagers who tried to enter the establishment with what appeared to be fake vaccine QR codes, around 6:30 p.m.

“They were arguing with my 16-year-host that they didn’t need to show ID with their vaccine cards because they’re under 19,” she said, adding the host noticed they appeared to be using the same QR code and name among the group.

READ MORE: Kelowna restaurant for sale after closure for violating public health orders

She told them to leave and the teenagers started yelling at her “it’s a free country,” she said, along with threats. She was also concerned they were intoxicated.

Then, shortly after she left at 8:30 p.m., she was told by the bartender the business was tagged with swastikas and other images while customers were still inside the restaurant.

She suspects the teenagers were the perpetrators. The RCMP were called about the incident.

“I don’t understand where people’s heads go. It didn’t get them anything, it didn’t get them in the building,” she said.

“These are the rules, it was laid out pretty clear, vaccine card, photo ID,” she said.

Throughout the pandemic and more recently with the vaccine card requirement, she said people have been rude to staff and herself around COVID-19 health regulations.

“I didn’t create this, we were just told what we have to do and this is what we’re doing. You can order take-out, you can come pick it up, you can have it delivered… and if there are other restaurants allowing people to do it, it just makes it that much harder for the ones that are following the rules,” Saraceni said.

Following the incident, yesterday, Oct. 15, some customers came into the restaurant to show their support for the business.

People have also been supportive on social media, she said.

“I know it’s not everybody, most people come in… and have no issue, it’s just a handful of people that want to make this thing something it does not need to be, just do it or stay home,” Saraceni said.

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