Rush on printing, laminating services in Quebec as vaccine passport looms

When Quebec’s new vaccine passport system goes into effect on Wednesday, people will be expected to show their proof of vaccination to access non-essential services. That's led to a rush on printing shops.

People who don't use smartphones or trust phone battery life can carry a printed version of their passport

The Quebec government recommends those who don't download the VaxiCode app print and laminate the vaccine passport in a business card format, though the code can be displayed with a phone as well. (Radio-Canada)

There's been an unusual rush on printing shops in Quebec City in recent days.

"Since last week, it's been madness," said Isabelle Lapointe, who works at Centre de la copie Élite in the provincial capital's Saint-Foy neighborhood.

That's because not everybody owns a smartphone or knows how to use them, but everybody needs a vaccine passport if they want to access non-essential services like restaurants and gyms starting Wednesday.

Anybody with a smartphone will be able to open their VaxiCode app to show off their quick response (QR) code at gyms, bars, diners and zoos. People can also skip the app and just display a PDF version of their code as well.

And then there's a third option — a printed version. That one is turning out to be quite popular among Quebec City seniors.

The government says laminating a business-card sized version of the QR code will work just fine.

Lapointe said seniors are showing up with printed copies of their vaccination proof in hand. Employees scan the document, shrink it down and laminate it so the card can fit easily in their wallet next to their identity card, which also has to be shown when the vaccine passport is being scanned.

"The problem is that we do just that nowadays," said Lapointe, and now her shop will now only accept these requests on Fridays so staff can continue to meet other orders.

There has been a rush on printing shops in Quebec City. One employee says he's getting 50 customers per day seeking the $4 service. (Radio-Canada)

At Planète Multi-Services, also in Quebec City, Jean Ouellet said the shop is getting 50 customers a day looking to get their code laminated.

"When we opened this morning, there were about 10 people waiting," he said. "It does not stop."

The service costs about $4, he said.

The provincial government is also offering a printing and mailing service for the passport in a business card format. There's even a special phone number to call to get help.

However, a seniors' advocate said many are struggling to get anybody on the phone that way and the government should be boosting that service as soon as possible.

"There is a flood of calls," said Michel Beaumont, of Fédération de l'Âge d'Or du Québec for the Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions.

"It is essential that they put in the necessary resources so that people can answer the phone. We have to make it absolutely accessible."

Even if the vaccination passport will be required in certain public spaces and non-essential businesses on Sept. 1, an adaptation period is planned until Sept. 15.

That means there won't be any fines for those who break the rules, but that doesn't mean businesses will be letting people enter without proof of vaccination, either.

with files from Radio-Canada


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