Calgary restaurant loses business license and permits for non-compliance with COVID statutes

Calgary restaurant Without Papers Pizza has lost its business license, liquor license and food handling license after choosing not to comply with the city’s law on vaccine passports.

Michael Briegel, chief business inspector at Calgary City, said inspectors issued 28 tickets to Without Papers, nine of which are for the company while the license was suspended. The other tickets were for the restaurant’s refusal to check customers for proof of vaccination or COVID-19 test results and not to show signs about the law on vaccination passports.

CBC News called Without Papers for comment, but no one picked up the phone. CBC also visited the restaurant and knocked on the door. There seemed to be people inside, but no one answered the door.

The city’s law on vaccine passports came into force on 23 September. It requires companies in Calgary to check customers for evidence of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. Briegel said most companies have complied with the new bylaws, even though the city has issued 22 tickets related to the vaccine passport since it went into effect.

In a press release on Thursday, the city said it received “many complaints and inquiries” about the Inglewood restaurant and is ready to “forcefully enforce” the pandemic-related bylaws with companies that do not comply with them.

Without Papers shared photos on its Instagram story that customers enjoy their pizza even though the company license is suspended. (@ woppizza / Instagram)

Next step

Briegel usually said that when he receives complaints about companies not complying with pandemic-related bylaws, his team starts training. They explain the rules of procedure for the company and how to comply with them. But when it came to Without Papers Pizza, their approach was different.

“This particular business came out right away and openly told the public that they would not follow this new bylaws,” Briegel said.

“We went straight to enforcement with the specific business.”

Peace officers stand outside Without Papers Pizza on 1216 Ninth Ave. SEE (Lucie Edwardson / CBC)

In an Instagram post from September 23, Without Papers said it would not comply with the city’s law on vaccine passports.

“We accept everyone, whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated, as equals in their humanity and have the same dignity and equality as such,” the post reads.

“We respect that the individual has decided in accordance with their situation and give this person the right to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.”

On its Instagram story on Thursday, the company shared photos of customers enjoying its pizza, despite the company license being suspended.

Briegel said the city is working with Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission to determine its next paperwork-free handling as the restaurant continues to operate without a business license.

Calgarians can report complaints and concerns about companies that do not comply with the vaccination passport law online at Calgary.ca/311 or via the 311 app.

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