Include Restaurant & Food Service Workers on Ontario's Phase 2 Vaccination List.

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I write this letter as a cry for help from the entire Food & Beverage industry of Ontario in regard to Ontario’s phase vaccine distribution plan.

This multi-phase plan has Phase 1 supplying vaccines to Ontario’s most vulnerable populations and those who care for them. In April, we are expected to move to Phase 2 where we will see vaccines available to older adults, people in high-risk settings, frontline essential workers and other populations that are at greater risk. This plan includes police and fire professionals, social workers and grocery store workers all deemed as essential workers that cannot work from home but neglects to list restaurant and food service workers, disregarding this entire industry as essential.

As one of the hardest hit industries from Covid-19 why am I not seeing restaurants workers on this list? From the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic restaurants across Ontario have been heavily regulated and shut down by Premier Ford. Even after adhering to stringent restrictions and safety guidelines set forth by our government the framework continues to keep us closed, or only allows for limited seating capacity making it impossible for many businesses to survive. Many have suffered through this past year, hanging on as hard as we can and now it’s time that our industry is vaccinated so we can do our part to get Ontario back on track.

General Hillier and Premier Ford, if the vaccines are determined by level of risk, I ask you to consider the following: We prepare and serve meals to people who are not wearing masks while they eat or drink. We cannot stay 6ft apart from our guests, we cannot work from behind plexi-glass and we certainly cannot work from home. We handle thousands of used forks, plates and glasses just hoping that we’ve used enough sanitizer to keep ourselves safe. We work on the frontlines in a high-risk position! Now that Ontario has a steady flow of vaccines available it is devastating and completely unacceptable to see that restaurant and food service workers are not considered essential candidates for Phase 2. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to the safety of all Ontarians who work at or visit restaurants and food service outlets that you immediately include restaurant and food service workers on the Phase 2 vaccination list.