'No one wants to have to do this, but it is necessary': Waterloo Region businesspeople on vaccine passports

·2 min read

Some business owners in the Waterloo Region are saying that vaccine passports are a catch-22, but also very necessary.

Ian McLean, president and CEO of Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, says that having to suffer another general lockdown would be devastating.

“No one wants to have to do this,” McLean said about the implementation of vaccine certificates and passports. “But it is necessary so that we don’t have another lockdown.”

Proof of vaccine certificates go into effect on Sept. 22, and apply to businesses and facilities such as indoor restaurants, gyms, bars, nightclubs, large entertainment venues, banquet halls, meeting and event spaces, casinos, concerts, strip clubs and racing venues.

Certificates are not required for retail shopping, grocery stores, nail and hair salons, outdoor dining or accessing medical facilities.

Ontario residents will be required to show proof of vaccination certificates before entering any of the listed businesses or facilities. You can go to covid19.ontariohealth.ca to download a PDF copy of your vaccine certificates. On Oct. 22, the province will implement a QR code and verification app in order to make verification more convenient.

Janice Haines, owner of Cambridge-based sports collectible shop, The Cardboard Devil, has experienced first-hand how mindless customers can be when it comes to the pandemic.

“It’s a catch-22 because obviously everyone has the right to choose whether to be vaccinated or unvaccinated,” said Haines. “But I have customers that are so anti-vax that it scares me because you know they are taking part in risky behaviours. They act entitled in a lot of ways, and are completely disrespectful to those that have chosen to be vaccinated.”

As the owner of a retail business, Haines is exempt from having to ask for vaccine certificates, or passports when they take effect. She says that the decision to exclude retail businesses from vaccine passports is disappointing and makes her feel unsafe.

“I’m at risk, my children are at risk and the children at my children’s school are at risk,” says Haines.

For now, Haines plans to minimize her contact outside the store, step up cleaning and sanitation and deliver items directly to the homes of people she designates to be high-risk.

“Being exempt personally, I don’t like it, but at least there’s a lot of things I don’t have to worry about from a business perspective.”

Genelle Levy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times

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