Waterloo Region and the City of Kitchener both gave the thumbs up to the province’s announcement that a COVID-19 vaccine passport will be arriving in a few weeks.
On Wednesday, the province announced it will require a vaccination certificate for several indoor public settings such as restaurants, gyms and nightclubs.
“Last week, Kitchener Council called on the province for a consistent and coordinated approach to vaccine certification for Ontario’s municipalities and businesses, and this is a great step in the right direction,” Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic stated.
“We need to do everything we can to limit the impact of the fourth wave of this pandemic. Kitchener residents have really stepped up to get vaccinated and I encourage those who have not done so to roll up their sleeves as soon as possible to keep us all safe.”
Kitchener says it will be going over the information closely over the coming days to work on an implementation plan as it will affect some city-owned facilities such as arenas, pools and event spaces.
The region notes that council and local businesses and made the request for a vaccination passport last month.
“This direction today provides much-needed clarity for businesses — the lifeblood of our economy,” Regional Chair Karen Redman stated.
- On the Brink: A Nova Scotia family and the ‘never-ending struggle’ to survive
- Younger and older Canadians crunched by housing, retirement, debt: experts
- Jewish community in Moncton, N.B. ‘hurt profoundly’ as Menorah won’t be displayed at city hall
- Defence minister says plan in talks for ‘significant’ military investments
“It is an important move as we continue to push back against COVID-19.”
The province has long resisted creating a provincial passport and during Wednesday’s announcement, Premier Doug Ford reiterated his opposition, blaming the feds for his change of plans.
“There’s no secret that I wasn’t in favour of this. (As) a matter of fact, I stood there a while back saying I wasn’t in favour of it,” Ford told reporters at Queen’s Park Wednesday afternoon.
“After sitting down with Dr. (Kieran) Moore (Ontario’s chief medical officer of health), after finding out that the federal government just three weeks ago — it was just three weeks ago — said they weren’t going to have a national passport. Instead, they decided to go with an unnecessary election.”
Officials announced that as of Sept. 22, Ontario residents will need to show proof of full vaccination (having received two doses at least 14 days before entry), along with photo ID, in order to access restaurants, bars, nightclubs, meeting and event spaces, gyms and fitness facilities (with an exception for youth recreational sports), sports events, casinos, gaming establishments, concerts, music festivals, theatres, cinemas, strip clubs, bathhouses, and racing venues.
As of Oct. 22, the Ontario government is scheduled to roll out a new QR code-based application for residents and business operators to use for scans. Officials said new certificates similar to the current PDF ones will be issued. The new documents will contain a unique QR code that, when scanned, will display the holder’s current vaccination status (yes or no) and the person’s name.
— with files from Global News’ Nick Westoll