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Ontario Follows Quebec to Require Vaccine Passports for Concerts, Theatres & More, But Not Retail

On Sept. 1, the same day that Quebec’s new COVID-19 vaccine passport came into effect for non-essential services and events, the Government of Ontario confirmed that people in that province will also be required to show proof of full vaccination to enter concerts, theatres, and other such places. Like in Quebec, Ontarians will not need to show proof of vaccination to enter retail stores.

The new Ontario system, which if officially called the "enhancedCOVID-19 vaccine certificate,” will begin on Sept. 22nd. At first, the Ontarians will need to show the vaccine receipt they received after getting their second shot. They will also need to have fully vaccinated for at least two weeks.

"We need to protect our hospitals, we need to avoid lockdowns at all costs. We want our kids in schools, and our businesses to stay open," Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference about the new program.

By Oct. 22nd, Ontarians should receive a new certificate that includes a QR code containing their vaccination information.Then, that will eventually be replaced by a verification app in order to make it easier for businesses to check.

The new proof of vaccination requirements will not be applied to employees of the businesses requiring it.

The vaccine certificate system will apply to the following indoor spaces in Ontario:

-      Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, delivery and takeout)

-      Nightclubs, including outdoor areas

-      Meeting and event spaces like banquet halls and convention centres

-      Sports and fitness facilities and gyms, with the exception of youth recreational sports.

-      Sporting events

-      Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

-      Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas

-      Strip clubs, bath houses and sex clubs

-      Racing venues

The vaccination certificate will not be required at essential retailers, like grocery stores, or at any medical care businesses.The verification app will be available to non-essential retailers so they can implement their own requirements if they choose to.

For more information about the Ontario program, read HERE.

For more information about the Quebec, read HERE.

Manitoba is also implementing its proof of vaccination requirements on Sept. 3, and British Columbia will do so on Sept. 13.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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