Papers, please: N.S. restaurants adapt to new reality of vaccine passports for customers

It's tough to say if it went off without a hitch, but the first day of Nova Scotia's new proof of vaccination requirement for places like restaurants hadn't resulted in any major problems by dinner time Monday -- but operators admit they are nervous about the new rules and their role in enforcing them.

Visiting from Ontario, Esther Turner and Rose Kragiel were sampling Halifax's celebrated restaurant-scene at lunchtime, and told CTV News they were comfortable showing their passports prior to being served, because it's been policy in their province for a couple of weeks.

"No problem. Everybody's friendly. Just show your pass. Easy," said Turner.

Launched in other jurisdictions some time ago, passport restrictions to get into places like restaurants are now the law in Nova Scotia, part of the province's modified Phase 5 reopening plan.

Still, the learning curve for all of this is pretty steep for operators, who'll be policing it.

"Make sure that people have their passports before they get into the restaurant, and also their ID to show that that's who they are," said Lil MacPherson president & co-owner of the popular Wooden Monkey restaurant.

Not surprising, according to Luc Erjavec, the Vice President Atlantic of Restaurants Canada, who told CTV News members were anxious about the new rules, but noted it was better than alternatives, including a complete shutdown.

"I think, like anything, the first couple of days wil be difficult, and then it will smooth out," said Erjavec.

Meantime, about 30 anti-vax protesters gathered for a noisy demonstration outside the provincial legislature Monday, saying the government is effectively legislating what's going into people's bodies.

"Endless number of doses - three, four, five," said demonstrator Albert Scott.

"Who knows what's going to happen?"

Meantime, Nova Scotia's top doctor criticized protesters who allegedly harassed some restaurant employees after a larger demonstration on Sunday.

"What we're doing is trying to keep Nova Scotia as safe as possible," said Dr. Robert Strang.

Keep us at the front of the pack."

But it will clearly take some time to get there.

Halifax construction workers Brandon Matheson and Tyler McGrath had eaten twice at downtown restaurants Monday, and told CTV News no one had asked them for passports or ID so far.

"Not yet.  I mean it is still pretty new," said McGrath.

"It's the first day. So I think it's going to take some time for people to warm-up to it and everything."

So, a new reality settles in to downtown Halifax and everywhere in Nova Scotia.

A big deal for some, but not so much for others.

"There's nothing inconvenient about it," said Turner.

"Everything you have to show for your passport is stuff that you have on you when you're out and about doing anything in life anyway, so there's absolutelyno inconvenience."