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VIDEO: Kelowna's Renegade Kitchen goes renegade on vaccine passes

Kelowna's Renegade Kitchen and Craft Bar on Leon Avenue in Kelowna is living up to its name.

The vegan eatery has made it clear they will not be asking customers to show a vaccine which is now required at restaurants and many other public venues by public health orders.

"We will remain open to all," Renegade Kitchen's Instagram page argues that the restaurant is in the business of serving up delicious comfort food. "...not in the business of asking for or discussing your private health info."

What repercussions the restaurant might face is unclear.

When KelownaNow asked the Kelowna RCMP whether they would be enforcing the health orders at restaurants that don't comply, they referred us to Interior Health and local ByLaw offices.

"The RCMP is not the lead enforcement agency in matters of Public Health Orders", said Kelowna RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy in an email.

Interior Health also deferred. "Questions on enforcement of the BC Vaccine Card are being handled by the Ministry of Health," said a spokesperson in their media relations department.

From there, it came full circle.

"Enforcement is at the discretion of enforcement officers," said Marielle Tounsi, Senior Pubic Affairs Officer, "including police, liquor and cannabis inspectors, gambling investigators and conservation officers who can all issue tickets."

Tounsi continued to explain how local bylaw officers can also play a role.

It's too early to get worried about enforcement, suggested one local elected official.

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow

"We're looking at a world that's changing the rules on how we're supposed to live very quickly," said Kelowna City Councillor Ryan Donn.

"The reality is, we're going to need to take some time to figure out what is the process going to be."

"I can guarantee," he continued, "they're working on it behind the scenes and trying to figure out 'what is the action plan?' so we can support public health orders."

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow

Renegade Kitchen and Craft Bar has not responded to our requests for an interview on the subject, but the operators seem to be bracing for some push-back.

"...we will willingly bear the brunt of the backlash," their post says.

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow

The operators acknowledge that their position on the vaccine cards could cost them some public support.

"...we are sending out so much love in advance," the post continues, "to all those who will become incredibly upset by this post."

The post also said that there are other restaurants that are taking a similar approach, but doing it "under the table".

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor General added that a COVID-19 Interagency Enforcement Working Group has been active in preparation.

That group includes provincial government ministries, health authorities, provincial compliance and enforcement officers, WorkSafeBC, police and municipal bylaw officers.

While enforcement remains a bit of a puzzle, the Ministry of Health explained that depending on the violation, owner/operators could face fines up to $2,300 for violating public health orders.

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