By Henry Standage, Western Journalism Studio Feb 4, 2022

On Thursday, London’s Zenza Pizzeria shared an image on Facebook and Instagram announcing that they would not be following Ontario’s current Covid-19 health guidelines for businesses. 

The sign,  also posted briefly  at the entrance of the King Street restaurant, said owners would honour mask exemptions without question and would not ask customers’ vaccination status – going against Ontario Health Guidelines. The image of the sign circulated on social media , Thursday, sparking  debate among Londoners. 

“Love you guys!” Kristin Nagle,  a former London nurse who gained notoriety after being  fired last January for not following mask and vaccine protocols, commented on Zen’za’s post But others seemed appalled at  Zen’za’s decision. 

“If that’s how they feel about health guidelines, imagine how they deal with food safety guidelines,” said the top comment on a Reddit forum dedicated to the sign. However, by evening, the restaurant announced on its Facebook page that after conversations with Middlesex London Health Unit, they would be closing their dining room until further notice. The statement at one point noted, “we have ruffled a number of feathers in the city with our reopening statements.” 

On Thursday, London’s Zenza Pizzeria shared an image on Facebook and Instagram announcing that they would not be following Ontario’s current Covid-19 health guidelines for businesses. 

When reached out for commentFriday, store owner Jocelyn Morwood DeGroot  said the “store has been getting slammed relentlessly for the past 24 hours. 

“We will allow our social media platforms to express our thoughts.”

Social media post from Zen’za Pizzeria

Interestingly, Zen’za’s accounts feature several hostile exchanges with London residents, in particular on  Twitter. 

The comment sections in their Instagram posts now heavily feature residents on either side of the vaccine mandate arguing. The restaurant had closed last week to allow its four staff members to attend the trucker convoy rally in London

Rakev Tadesse, a first-year Western law student who came by the store to see the sign for himself, noted that “it’s extremely disappointing that the level of divisiveness in our society has reached a point where pizza is now political.” 

Previously, in Version  four of Ontario’s Ministry of Health guidelines, Ontario businesses were allowed to decide whether or not they wanted to follow certain protocols. Version five, released in December,  took away this voluntary aspect from businesses.

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