Sask. business community reacts to Oct. 1 vaccination requirements

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WATCH: Some business and labour organizations are praising Saskatchewan’s decision to bring in a proof of vaccination program, but some concerns remain. – Sep 16, 2021

As of Oct. 1, anyone entering restaurants, bars, event and entertainment venues or indoor fitness centres will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced Friday.

The initial reaction from some of the stakeholders was supportive.

“We ultimately want to create a safe environment, and this is one way that will allow us to do so,” said Barre Local Fitness co-owner Stacy Simon.

“The reality is if someone doesn’t feel safe inside our doors they’re not going to come, so we’re hopeful that this decision will also allow our business to make it through to the other side of the pandemic.”

Read more: COVID-19: Saskatchewan brings mandatory masks back, proof of vaccination coming Oct. 1

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Rebellion Brewing CEO and president Mark Heise expressed a similar sentiment.

“It’s absolutely, I think, critical at this point to do that. Everyone has to do their part and we’re more than happy to take that on,” he said, adding that he doesn’t foresee the challenge of administering the policy affecting business.

“I don’t think the announcement and requiring proof of vaccination is going to affect our business at all.”

“It’s a pretty easy thing for folks to comply with and we’re just gonna keep rolling and keep everyone safe and keep businesses open.”

Read more: COVID-19: Saskatchewan reports 5th straight day of more than 400 cases

Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve McLellan said that while some business owners may be frustrated at again having to “play cop” at their front doors, he applauded the measures taken to combat COVID-19 while keeping businesses open.

“It’s very critical that Saskatchewan businesses can stay open. They’ve already taken a financial hit,” McLellan said.

“Our economy cannot withstand another lockdown, so we’re hopeful that this will lead us out of out of the COVID challenge that we’re seeing today to a much calmer-waters environment.”

Read more: Saskatchewan proof of vaccination record expected to launch week of Sept. 20

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Proof of vaccination can take the form of the wallet card given at the time of vaccination, a printout or screenshot of an eHealth MySaskHealthRecord showing vaccination status or Saskatchewan’s in-development verifiable vaccination record, which will include a personalized QR code.

Those who are not vaccinated will only be able to attend affected businesses by providing a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test result. Moe said Thursday that protocols defining how this option will work will be released in the coming days.

The policy will not apply to retail businesses, places of worship, fast food restaurants offering takeout or delivery, hotels, health-care services and venues hosting non-ticketed sporting events.

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