Sep 24, 2021
After complaining that a provincial proof-of-vaccination program doesn’t go far enough, City Council approved a bylaw Sept. 22 that makes it mandatory for businesses to participate in the province’s new vaccine passport system.
The move requires city restaurants, bars, movie theatres and other businesses to ask patrons for proof of vaccination, or a recent, privately paid negative COVID 19 test, or a medical exemption letter. Failure to comply could result in a $500 fine for both businesses and their customers.
With hospitals engulfed with COVID 19 patients (mostly unvaccinated) and on the brink of running out of ICU beds, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney apologized Sept. 15 for the state of the pandemic and declared a state of health emergency. The province introduced sweeping new measures that include a ‘restriction exemption program.’ It involves businesses requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination, or to opt out if they adhere to restrictions like capacity limits and physical distancing.
Businesses have complained the provincial requirements are confusing and expose them to backlash from customers opposed to COVID 19 restrictions.
Vaccine mandates, masking and other restrictions have come under fire by people who feel governments are going too far, resulting in a flurry of protests, particularly leading up to the federal election.
According to a recent Leger poll commissioned by the Calgary and Edmonton chambers of commerce, 70 per cent of businesses and 74 per cent of the general population support vaccine certification, while 13 per cent of business and 12 per cent of the general population oppose it.
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