Details scant on N.S. proof of vaccination plan
HALIFAX -- In less than a month, Nova Scotians and visitors to the province will be required to show proof of vaccination for "discretionary" activities such as eating in a restaurant or going to a gym.
With that deadline looming, business owners are wondering just how that will work.
"I feel like we should have something as soon as possible," says Beverly Hynes, owner of Seamus David's Pub in Dartmouth.
"I would like to have a staff meeting to go over the new protocols."
But she doesn't have any details yet, on what the province expects her to do when patrons come to her pub Oct. 4.
After surviving through the uncertainty of the last eighteen months, she says this is just the latest pandemic protocol she's had to adjust to.
She's worried about the rollout.
"We have a hostess, she's eighteen years old," she says, "does she have to police people coming to the door?"
The Atlantic vice-president of restaurants Canada, says the group is working with the province to work out the details, and has raised those concerns.
"We're going to work with government until Oct. 4th to get it right," says Luc Erjavec.
Erjavec says restaurants were buoyed by the announcement that the province would move to phase five of reopening Sept. 15, which would eliminate mandatory masking and gathering limits.
Erjavec says proof of vaccination is a welcome tool to help keep establishments open. But as he says, "the devil is in the details."
"We need to get back to normal, we need people to come out and have an enjoyable experience, not a confrontation," he adds.
At o2 wellness in Bedford, gym owner Santana Anderson also has plenty of questions. The fitness sector was also hit hard by pandemic shutdowns and restrictions. He says the news gymgoers will have to show proof of vaccination has been polarizing among his members.
"There's been probably 20 to 30 members who reached out last night, stating that if the vaccination passport was put in place, that they would unfortunately be cancelling their memberships," says Anderson.
As the head of the Nova Scotia Gym Owners Association, he says business owners have plenty of concerns about tracking vaccination status.
"Are we going to be keeping records for all of our members, records of when they get their booster shots? Are we allowed legally to be keeping that kind of confidential information on members?"
Today, Premier Tim Houston said the province would deal with those who fail to follow the rules as needed and that, "there's no enforcement team that will be wandering the province or any penalties."
As for whether employees at a "non-essential" establishment would have to also show proof of vaccination, Houston stopped short of describing what's required as a mandate.
"If you're going to be in one of those establishments, there's a proof of vaccine policy and it applies to everyone in the establishment," Houston told reporters.
As for pub owner Beverly Hynes, she's making the choice to keep some pandemic protocols in place even after the province moves to Phase 5, such as mask-wearing among staff that choose to do so.
While she supports the idea of doing what's needed to keep her workers and customers safe, she says she just wants a plan in place sooner rather than later.