Amherst residents worry about lack of consistency in proof-of-vaccine policy in N.B.
Nova Scotia's plan to implement a 'proof of vaccination policy' for people taking part in non-essential activities is stirring up concerns among businesses along the New Brunswick border.
Premier Tim Houston announced yesterday that as of Oct. 4, the province will start requiring proof of full vaccination for Nova Scotians ages 12 and older to participate in discretionary, recreational or non-essential activities such as dining out, going to a fitness facility, or going to a movie, theatre performance, concert or sporting event.
Since yesterday's announcement, Amherst Chamber of Commerce president, Bill Dowe, says multiple business owners have reached out to him with their concerns surrounding the policy.
"Their concern is, without the same policy in New Brunswick are those folks not gonna come and visit our town? Are they not going to come and participate in our economy here?" said Dowe.
Earlier this month, New Brunswick premier, Blaine Higgs, told CTV News that a vaccine passport "may become necessary" to travel outside of New Brunswick, but that he saw no urgency to implement such a program.
Speaking with reporters today in Halifax, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said visitors to the province will be subject to the same proof of vaccine policy as Nova Scotia residents.
Amherst restaurant owner Jeff Bembridge worries the lack of consistency regarding a vaccination policy across Maritime provinces could be bad for businesses along the border.
"It's just going to continue to make it harder. Eventually, people will just stop coming, just stop trying. They'll just continue on to Moncton instead of coming to Amherst…why would you?" said Bembridge.
Brie Scott shares similar concerns. Her family owned and operated art emporium in Amherst doesn't fall under the current category of businesses that will be expected to require proof of vaccination, but she fears as a non-essential service, that could change.
"We have a lot of customers from Sackville who come here and honestly, I feel like it would just be an inconvenience for people to come shopping here because they're going to have to carry medical information with them in order to enter an establishment," said Scott.
Dowe says after a difficult 18-months for businesses during the pandemic, this new requirement could mean the struggle continues.
"Some of the policies, maybe they'll work in other parts of the province but they don't necessarily work here and it's an unfair burden on these two communities," said Dowe.