Should Restaurants Be Allowed to Ban Babies?

Photo courtesy of joanna8555 via Flickr

An Ottawa resto-bar turned away customers who wanted to bring a baby with them. That didn’t go over too well. The customers have filed a complaint with Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and have inspired a healthy debate on the subject.

We see the reasoning behind both sides. As people who were 25 once, we remember cringing over the sound of a crying baby during our intimate nights out. But we would have never booted them out of a restaurant, and certainly think kids should be welcome at establishments beyond the likes of McD’s.

But what do you think? Do you take your kids to fancy restaurants? Should restaurant owners be able to decide if babies are unwelcome? Or is this just a new form of discrimination?

Here are some of the opinions we’ve uncovered:

• “You do not have the right to take your child everywhere. When I am paying in excess of $200 for a night out with my wife, the last thing I want is to see you breast feeding your child or listen to it cry. When I am in an adult situation, I want to talk about adult things and do not want to censor myself for the child’s benefit. Further, why don’t you buy a smaller stroller so that other people can walk on the sidewalk as well?” (via The National Post)

• “This kid was 3 months of age. You know what most 3 month old babies do at night? Sleep. Also, you’d probably never notice a mom breastfeeding a 3 month old and don’t bother censoring yourself over dinner because most 3 month olds don’t listen in on other diner’s conversations. If the issue was the change table and the stroller, fine – explain the situation and let the mom work it out. No big deal.” (via The National Post)

• “What’s next? “I demand to bring my lap dog in”? Take your kids to Boston Pizza or East Side Marios if you’re too cheap to get a babysitter.” (via Toronto Life)

• “I’ve just recently moved back to Toronto from Europe after 6 years and can share that children eat everywhere. For whatever reason, the gastronomes here have transformed dinner into a silent, tense ritual. You would think they were serving the Eucharist at every sitting. Families go out with more frequency and spontaneity when they don’t have to worry about leaving the kids somewhere. That means more business for resto’s.” (via Toronto Life)

• “It’s a business, they can do whatever they want. If you don’t like their policies then don’t go. Whats the big deal? People are stupid.” (via Toronto Life)

• “I am stunned by the great number of commenters who can’t see what a slippery slope the attitude ‘we don’t serve your kind here’. What you prefer to do with your kids, or whether you prefer to dine around children or not, is irrelevant. The issue at play is whether or not a business open to the general public can discriminate. The answer, if you allowed yourself a moment to consider the alternatives, is clearly not.” (via the Ottawa Citizen)

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