A new website created to provide Ontarians with a list of companies that have staff who are fully vaccinated or that require customers to show proof of vaccination has shut down, citing online attacks from a small group of anti-vaccination.
SafeTO-Do was launched only last week, along with a Twitter account announcing new additions to the site. It was created by Brandon Matalo, a Toronto attorney who works mostly in commercial litigation on a freelance basis.
Matalo announced in a lengthy Twitter thread on Tuesday night that he would be shutting down the site. He previously said in an interview earlier this week that he had received messages from people opposing the use of face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19.
He also said that he had heard from opponents of vaccinations and the concept of permissibility of vaccination, a document that proves that the bearer has received two doses of the vaccine.
He wrote: “Whenever you add a new business, there is a group of people (a small minority), attacking those businesses by leaving fake reviews on Google, making false reservations at their restaurants, and sending them hateful messages,” he wrote.
“So I cannot, in good conscience, continue to add works to the site, because I cannot be sure that they will not be attacked by the same people.
Whenever you add a new business, there is a group of people (a small minority), who attack those businesses by leaving fake reviews on google, making false reservations at their restaurants, and sending them hateful messages.
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I don’t feel comfortable adding works, despite their requests, because I can’t guarantee that they know some of the negative reactions that might result.
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The site creator received hateful messages
Matalo declined an interview request when contacted by CBC News Wednesday, citing hateful messages he’s received.
In a previous interview, Matalo said the idea for the site came from a desire to help residents and businesses.
“I think people want this information,” he said. “And I just thought of centralizing it in a form that’s easy to look at and look at that would be useful for people.” “There are no actual guidelines on what companies should do.”
On Twitter, Matalo said he had received a lot of supportive messages from companies about the project, with someone telling him that he had received more than 100,000 views online after his inclusion, and only 20 negative posts.
“Overall, it has been an abundance of positive community response,” he wrote.
But Matalo said he also received a “significant” number of hate messages, including one he reported to the police.
“The messages are becoming increasingly personal, targeted, and obnoxious.”
He said he did not want to expose more companies to this kind of response. “Many just want to do their business and not deal with this, which is understandable.”
Some companies require government guidance التوجيه
The People Pint Brewing Company was one of the companies listed on the site before it closed. Co-owner Doug Apeldoorn told CBC News that employees there were fully vaccinated, and said he thought the SafeTO-Do website was a great idea.
“I think it’s appalling that such a small minority of very dangerous and outspoken people are allowed to do these kinds of things.”
However, Apeldoorn noted that the response to the company’s announcement that all employees had been vaccinated was received in a “very positive” way.
He says he thinks the county should provide guidance and framework, through a program like Vaccine Passports – an idea Premier Doug Ford refused Despite calls from several notable organizations including the Toronto District Council of Commerce.
As of Wednesday, 63 percent of eligible Ontarians are fully vaccinated Just under 80 percent got their first dose of the vaccine. The county reported 135 new cases of COVID-19 today.
More to track …
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