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Quebec businesses oppose vaccine passport requirements

Click to play video: 'Quebec businesses oppose vaccine passport requirements' Quebec businesses oppose vaccine passport requirements
WATCH: Business owners say the Quebec government's decision to expand the requirements of the province's vaccination passport to include more retail services will hurt them. – Jan 7, 2022

Business owners say the Quebec government’s decision to expand the requirements of the province’s COVID-19 vaccination passport to include more retail services will hurt them.

For Côte-des-Neiges barber Steve Victory, who named his shop Ghost Coiffure out of a playful fascination with the end of life, the fear that new COVID measures could spell the death of his business is no joke.

“With this pandemic I have lost almost 75 per cent of my business,” he told Global News on a break between clients from his salon.

Read more: Quebec says 20K health-care workers off job from COVID-19 as hospitalizations reach record levels

Quebec’s health minister Christian Dubé announced the new measure Thursday and Victory fears the effect they will have.

“I will lose even more business,” he said.

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Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Quebec bars and restaurants push to reopen to fully vaccinated public' COVID-19: Quebec bars and restaurants push to reopen to fully vaccinated public
COVID-19: Quebec bars and restaurants push to reopen to fully vaccinated public – Jan 5, 2022

He says many of his clients are undocumented persons who fear that going to get their vaccines means risking getting into trouble with authorities.

“About 60 per cent of my customers, I presume, are undocumented,” he stated.

Victor said authorities need to find ways to reach this segment of the population to make sure they’re safe.

On top of that, he claimed that requiring the passport will just create more headaches for him, saying he may have to hire extra staff.

Read more: COVID-19: Quebec bars and restaurants push to reopen to fully-vaccinated public

Business groups have also come out against the new measure.

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In a press release, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the mandatory vaccine passport in Quebec has already hurt many small and medium-sized businesses.

According to the document, 36 per cent of companies reported a drop in sales, 35 per cent had to spend more on staff and equipment to scan passports and 25 per cent of merchants claimed they were abused by clients opposed to the vaccination mandate.

The group’s Quebec vice president added that hiring more people to police the new measure will be challenging given the labour shortage.

“A lot of employees have to stay at home because they have symptoms,” he argued.

The Quebec Retail Council agrees, saying the measure will simply put too many small enterprises at risk of closure.

“Frankly we want the government to rethink it’s position and maybe come with another solution,” said the group’s general manager, Jean-Guy Coté.

No date has been announced yet for the implementation of the new measures.

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