Montreal businesses have mixed reactions to COVID-19 vaccine passport

The Quebec government has blocked certain non-essential services from people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, asking that businesses across the province request clients show proof of vaccination.

With the health measure officially in effect starting Wednesday, some business owners are having mixed reactions to the regulation.

At Jukebox Burgers in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, in Montreal's West Island, staff are making sure to scan QR codes and request matching photo ID.

It takes a minute, and sometimes clients can get impatient. Co-owner Marc Emond notes a small percentage of people have even resisted the mask-wearing rules.

"There have been a few hostile, elevated experiences here at the restaurant for the anti-maskers and I'm just trying to prevent [that] happening with the vaccine passport," he said, adding the restaurant posted on its website that it intends to follow the rules, leading to some negative feedback.

Emond notes he's worried about resistance because he's trying to follow the rules.

"I called the police wanting to find out who will enforce those fines if they do occur and they commented it was not them," he said. "I asked, 'if there is an elevated experience at my door with a customer, can I call you to contain the situation?' and they said, 'yes, please call us.'"

Other restaurants have decided to take a different approach.

Le Petit Vibe, in Côte-des-Neiges, posted a message on its Instagram stating that in the name of "human rights and freedoms" it would be closing its dining room to customers and only offering take-out and delivery.

"It's tough to close the dine-in, we lose customers," said Willson Luu, with the restaurant. "[We] had to turn away customers today."

He says reaction to the decision has been mostly positive, but he knows this is only the beginning of the province's COVID-19 vaccine passport journey.

"I'm not an anti-vaxxer, I'm doubly-vaxxed. It's taking away freedoms from people deciding whether they want to get vaccinated or not and to put a law on it, I don't think it's fair," Luu said. "They're trying to lower cases and the chances of going into another lockdown. I totally understand that, but I don't agree with taking away human freedom and choice."

To see the complete list of activities covered by Quebec's vaccine passport, click here (in French).

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