Day 1 of the P.E.I. Vax Pass is in the books — here's how it went

With day one of the P.E.I. Vax Pass over, some businesses and customers say it went better than expected. 

Essential services, like grocery stores, pharmacies and hairdressers are excluded from the Vax Pass program.

John MacFarlane says he feels more comfortable with Vax Pass rules in place — especially going to places that are a little congested. (Steve Bruce/CBC )

With day one of the P.E.I. Vax Pass over, some businesses and customers say it went better than expected, while others say there's been some issues. 

At Receiver Coffee in Charlottetown, customers like John MacFarlane said it was quick, easy and well worth it. 

"I think it's good. I think it'll hopefully encourage more people to get vaccinated, and make everyone else feel more comfortable that everyone around them is vaccinated," MacFarlane said. 

Amy McLean says it took no time to print out her vaccine record. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Another customer, Amy McLean, said she was just doing her part in getting things back to normal.

"I definitely felt a little bit safer having my mask off, where before there was some times I would take my mask off and you're not sure who's vaccinated, who's not vaccinated," she said. 

Starting Tuesday, Islanders need to show proof of vaccination to get into non-essential businesses and events.  A government-issued record of vaccination along with a drivers licence, for example, will work. 

'Hopefully things will change'

Gyms are also on the list of businesses where you need to show your vaccination record. 

In just the last 24 hours, Atlantic Fitness Centre has lost several members who aren't vaccinated. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The day ran relatively smoothly at the Atlantic Fitness Centre in Charlottetown, says co-owner Chris MacPhee — although not all of his customers were happy with the new rule, and it's led to people dropping memberships.

"It's been significant, as far as the membership loss goes in the last 24 hours with it," he said.

"That's something we've prepared to deal with. We knew that was coming, and that's unfortunate, but hopefully things will change. Our doors [are] always open to have those people back in the future.

They've been asking members for proof of vaccines for a few days now. They record it in their system, and don't have to ask for it again. 

"It's kind of a necessary evil unfortunately," he said. "We knew we were going to have to do this, and you have to think a little bigger than yourselves in these situations." 

A few bumps in the road

Over at Kettle Black, another coffee shop in Charlottetown, co-owner Tatiana Zharkikh said the first day had some hiccups. 

Tatiana Zharkikh wishes businesses got a little more time to prepare for the new rule. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

One customer, unaware of the new rule, got angry, yelled and stormed out, she said. 

Several others were caught off guard, and staff had to show them how to find their vaccination record online — slowing down business.

She would have appreciated more time to get ready for the new rule, she said. 

"I feel it was a bit rushed," she said. 

"I don't think we had enough time. I know there are resources, email and everything, but when you're a small business you're going through so many things. And sometimes it's very hard to stay on top of something."

With files from Steve Bruce