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Ontario to mandate proof of vaccination for some businesses on September 22nd

If you want to get into some of Ontario’s non-essential businesses, you’ll need to provide proof you’ve been vaccinated.

On September 22nd, you’ll have to show it when entering the following businesses:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
  • Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
  • Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
  • Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;
  • Sporting events;
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments;
  • Concerts, music festivals, theatres, and cinemas;
  • Strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs;
  • Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).

You won’t need it for retail shopping or outdoor patios and essential services such as grocery shops, or pharmacies.  Salons, spas, and other personal services are also not required to ask for proof of vaccination.

The vaccine certificate will be presented along with a government-issued photo id until a phone app is put into play on October 22nd.  A personalized QR code will be used to provide businesses with proof of vaccination and the government is working on an app for businesses that would allow them to verify the information without revealing any personal information.  That should also be ready in October.

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People without a smartphone or access to one will still be able to enter a business with a paper copy of a vaccine certificate and photo id.

People with a medical exemption will have to provide paper proof from a physician, but the province is working on an electronic version of that.

Enforcement of the new proof of vaccination system will be the responsibility of bylaw enforcement officers, but Premier Doug Ford says it will be fair and reasonable and will rely on people and businesses to do “the right thing.”

Ford had originally said he did not want to implement a vaccine passport system because he did not want to create a “split-society”, and he reiterated that today, “My friends, let’s face it this is not something I want to do. This is a serious step that we didn’t take lightly and I know it will be difficult for some people. And let me be clear this is a temporary tool that we won’t use for a day longer than we have to.”

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