As of today, supermarkets will have to demand the vaccination passport at the request of the government, which is increasingly tightening the screws on the non-vaccinated.
“We hope that consumers will be patient and lenient with employees […] They are only applying the rules so that we remain open. It’s not an easy time for anyone,” said Karina Serei, Senior Director of Operations and Communications at the Conseil québécois de commerce de retail, on Sunday.
As of today, expect lines outside certain businesses of 1,500 square meters or more, especially during the busy period. The new measure notably affects companies such as Costco, Walmart, Canadian Tire, or RONA.
It will certainly require adjustments over the next few days.
“They have hands full,” sighs Ms. Serei, who hopes this will be temporary. when at least one employee must be assigned to the door. For others, it is rather the computer equipment, to verify the QR code, which is the problem.
Everything to avoid a closure
Nevertheless, the priority is to keep the economy open, believes for its part the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, which sees good eye the measure.
“If that is the condition for keeping all aspects of the economy open, we support it,” comments Michel Leblanc, President and Chief Executive Officer.
The new requirement did not particularly shake Jacques Tanguay, vice-president of Ameublement Tanguay.
“As soon as the shops closed for the first time, which was very hard, we equipped ourselves in stores to receive customers in a safe manner. Restaurants have been doing it for months and it hasn't been a problem, ”he says.
He assures that no one will have to wait outside in the cold.
Among customers, the reactions seemed mixed on Sunday in front of the IKEA in Boucherville where several dozen people were waiting in line: a scene that will probably become more frequent.
“It won't change much for me , commented Jacques Béland, 57, triple vaccinated. All means are useful to encourage people to get vaccinated.
“I think it's a way to twist people's arms. They should have the right to choose,” said Marie Beauregard, 24, also vaccinated.
– With Jérémy Bernier
A health measure to be applied everywhere?
If some experts believe it would be worth it to extend the vaccine passport to all non-essential businesses, others are rather of the opinion that the measure should only be forced into small areas as a last resort.
“In enclosed spaces, there is no certainty that the ventilation is adequate, recalls Roxane Borgès Da Silva, professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Montreal. Unvaccinated people are at much higher risk of developing severe symptoms. Procedure masks are not perfect for filtering the air we breathe. »
In a context where the healthcare system is saturated, she believes that this kind of precaution should be extended to small businesses, such as hairdressing salons. The SAQ and the SQDC have been doing it since January 18.
A punitive measure
An opinion that is however not shared by Benoît Barbeau, professor in the department of biological sciences at UQAM.
“I'm not sure if that will have so much impact on the level of transmission as such. I believe that it is a measure that is intended to be more punitive towards those who are not vaccinated, ”said the virologist.
In any case, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) and the Quebec Retail Trade Council (CQCD) want passports to be required of small businesses only as a “last resort”, before closing.
One or two employees
Michel Leblanc, President of the CCMM
“Often, small stores have one or two employees in store, so it can really be more difficult for them,” explains Karina Serei, Senior Director of Operations and Communications at CQCD.
“If this is absolutely not necessary, we do not support it,” adds Michel Leblanc, president of the CCMM. is coming.
Especially since for the past few days, Quebec has observed a slow decrease in hospitalized patients, while 3,283 beds – 12 less than the day before – were still occupied on Sunday.
The province has added 33 deaths to its death toll.