Some Montreal restaurant owners are struggling to figure out how best to adapt to the reality of the new COVID-19 vaccine passport.
The pass limits aspects of public life, like restaurant dining, for people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and came into effect September 1. Businesses considered non-essential, such as restaurants, are expected to verify the vaccination status of patrons.
Some restaurateurs, however, are having trouble adjusting to the new reality.
Some, like owners of Le Petit Vibe restaurant on Côte-des-Neiges Road, decided to close the dining room and revert to take-out only for all clients.
“It’s just more of a question of not believing in asking people, or being forced to ask people for their information,” explained co-owner Edward Chaillard.
Other owners who have also closed their dining rooms say it’s too expensive to hire extra staff just to police the passports, and some told Global News they are also considering doing take-out only.
Owners with larger dining spaces who haven’t closed point to other challenges they’ve experienced since the day the passport came into effect.
“Our business, since the first day, is down 20 per cent,” claimed bar and restaurant owner Peter Sergakis.
On top of that, he said he has problems finding employees to do the checks and the enforcement is costing him.
“We have to buy telephones for the employees to check the passports,” he pointed out. “The employees don’t want to use their own phones, which is normal.”
The Quebec government has put in place a 15-day grace period before penalties are imposed.
Business owners hope things will be easier by then.