Several provinces are dropping vaccine passports, but some companies aren’t on board

Although Saskatchewan has dropped its provincial vaccine passport program for businesses, Colin Hall would like to continue requiring customers to show proof of vaccinations at his yoga studio in Regina.

Even so, it instead decided to remove the requirement. Hall said when he first introduced a vaccine requirement last July, months before Saskatchewan imposed a provincial mandate, he had the support of his customers, but also faced backlash. .

“We’ve been subjected to a barrage of online and phone harassment… ‘We’re going to boycott you, we’re going to sue you, we’re going to find out where you live,'” Hall, co-owner, said. of Bodhi Tree Yoga.

“Honestly, I’m not sure I can handle another round of anti-vaxxers harassing us and trying to bully us.”

Several provinces are dropping their COVID-19 vaccine passport programs for entry to restaurants, gyms and other venues, leaving it up to individual businesses to decide whether they want to open their doors to unvaccinated customers.

“You’re kind of forcing businesses to choose one side of the fence themselves, where governments used to make that choice for them,” said Bruce Winder, a Toronto-based retail consultant.

“It’s going to be tough for businesses, because it’s such a polarizing topic right now.”

On February 9, Alberta became the first province to cancel their vaccine passport program.

WATCH | Alberta removes vaccine requirement for businesses:

Alberta drops vaccine passport, plans to ease other COVID-19 restrictions

Albertans no longer need to show proof of vaccination to dine in restaurants or sit in entertainment venues. From Monday, mask-wearing requirements will be waived for students of all ages. 3:54

“The public health threat of COVID-19 no longer outweighs the hugely damaging impact of health restrictions on our society, on people’s mental health, on their emotional well-being,” Premier Jason said. Kenney at a press conference last week.

Saskatchewan was next on the list, ending its vaccine passport policy on Monday. Ontario and Manitoba plan to drop all proof of vaccination requirements on March 1. Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador will end all vaccination mandates for businesses by mid-March.

“I get 1 star reviews”

While most companies are expected to lower their vaccine requirements in line with provinces, not all are doing the same – despite the possibility they could face a backlash.

Dave Kantor, owner of The Cave Beastro in Edmonton, said he decided to keep his restaurant’s vaccination mandate because he felt it was premature for Alberta to drop the requirement.

Dave Kantor, owner of The Cave Beastro in Edmonton, said he decided to keep his restaurant’s vaccination mandate because he felt it was premature for Alberta to drop the requirement. (Submitted by Dave Kantor)

“I watch the [COVID-19] Numbers. They’re still pretty high,” he said. “I don’t think squeezing all kinds of people into one place and making more people sick is what we need to do right now.”

He said his decision received mixed reviews, with some people applauding him. Others, not so much.

Kantor says people told him “I discriminate, I segregate, how I’m just a disgusting person for allowing this to continue.”

“I get one star reviews.”

Still, he says he doesn’t regret his decision and won’t give up on his vaccine until he feels safe.

Other holdouts include Café Bicyclette in Edmonton.

“We have taken a more cautious approach,” said Daniel Cournoyer, general manager of Café Bicyclette. “So far, overwhelmingly, our customers are saying, ‘Thank you so much for doing this. “

Daniel Cournoyer, general manager of Cafe Bicyclette in Edmoton, says his customers support keeping the cafe’s vaccine requirement, even though Alberta dropped its mandate last week. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

The Broadway Theater in Saskatoon maintains its vaccination mandate for all films and events, according to a post he made on Facebook.

More than 100 people commented on the post, with some praising the theater for customer safety, while others alleging discrimination.

“Certainly hope you get legal repercussions for this discriminatory policy,” one person wrote.

The theater declined to comment.

Businesses may face litigation

At a press conference earlier this month, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said companies that maintain their vaccine requirements are now on their own if they face litigation.

“My advice for them would be to consult their attorney,” he said. “Private companies [are] free to do what they want, but they can also have consequences.”

Tanya Walker, an employment lawyer at Walker Law in Toronto, said that in general, companies have the right to impose vaccine requirements on their clients. (Submitted by Tanya Walker)

Toronto labor lawyer Tanya Walker of Walker Law said companies can, in general, impose vaccination orders on clients.

“I don’t think it should be a problem for a business owner to continue to require their customers to provide proof of vaccination in situations where customers are in close proximity to each other,” Walker said. “[It’s] justified in helping the public.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said companies could face a legal challenge if their vaccine requirements violate individual human rights, such as denying entry to someone who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons.

Landmark Cinemas drops vaccine mandate

Many companies, including Landmark Cinemas, are choosing to drop their vaccine requirements in provinces that no longer have a mandate.

Landmark CEO Bill Walker said the theater company, which has 40 locations in western Canada and Ontario, supports vaccination, but also believes it’s time to return to some sense of normality.

To help patrons feel safe, Walker said theaters will continue to implement safety measures such as seating spacing and enforcing mask policies.

Landmark Cinema CEO Bill Walker said the theater chain will drop its requirements for vaccines in locations that no longer have vaccination mandates. (Radio-Canada/Salle Colin)

“We will continue to try to create an experience where everyone feels comfortable and welcome and try to escape and enjoy the movies for a few hours,” he said.

For Hall, who felt he had to drop the vaccine requirement at Bodhi Tree Yoga, there is some consolation as he believes unvaccinated people are not interested in coming to his studio anyway.

“At this point, I think we’ve kind of alienated everyone who isn’t vaccinated.”

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