The decision by the Quebec government to require proof of vaccination to access non-essential services is a necessary move to help control a raging fourth wave, and to avoid the lockdown conditions that have marked each previous rise in COVID-19 numbers. As surging cases once again trigger an increase in hospitalizations and intensive care admissions, the statistics are now depicting a very clear picture of the effectiveness of the vaccines, even as the Delta variant proves to be more challenging. Vaccine passports will allow people to feel safer, while at the same time protecting the youngest and more vulnerable members of our communities. The fact they verge on coercion is a condition that most of us can live with.
The passports do not require very much from citizens who are simply being asked to demonstrate they are fully vaccinated by showing proof either on paper or in digital form. For non-essential businesses, however, the passports impose yet another layer of complication, expense, and in many cases, confusion. Our local businesses have been working non-stop to adapt to government measures for months on end while ensuring this stress is not felt by their customers. They are short-staffed and tired. It is essential that we come prepared to participate in a non-essential activity – from attending a fall festival to enjoying a favourite drink on a local terrasse in the waning fall sunshine – with passport, and a good deal of patience and respect, in hand.