PEI

Vaccine passports difficult, but better than closing, say restaurants

Vaccine passports, now required by many provinces and coming soon to P.E.I., place an unfair onus on restaurants to police a public health measure, says Restaurants Canada.

'We're being asked to police a public health policy'

The P.E.I. Vax Pass will be required to enter many public spaces. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Vaccine passports, now required by many provinces and coming soon to P.E.I., place an unfair onus on restaurants to police a public health measure, says Restaurants Canada.

Earlier this week, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King announced at a COVID-19 pandemic briefing that starting Oct. 5, Islanders 12 and over would require a P.E.I. Vax Pass to eat at restaurants or attend most large indoor and outdoor gatherings. The pass would be confirmation the person is fully vaccinated.

"It beats the option of closure," said Luc Erjavec, the Atlantic vice-president for Restaurants Canada, in an interview with CBC News: Compass's Steve Bruce. 

"We're being asked to police a public health policy that puts our staff on the front lines of this, and it can sometimes be tough for them."

Most customers have been understanding about providing the proof of vaccine, but there is a small minority that make life difficult for staff by berating them for asking for the passports, Erjavec said.

"We didn't invent this passport, we didn't ask for it. Government decided to bring this in to protect customers, to protect staff, and we're just trying to do our best to keep everyone safe," he said.

Restaurants Canada has been speaking with the P.E.I. government about details of the vax pass policy. Erjavec said restaurants want the government to mandate clear signage at the entrance to events and restaurants, making it clear to customers that the requirement for a vaccine passport is mandated by the province.

"We're in a business of welcoming people," he said. "We want to say yes."

Restaurants Canada would also like P.E.I. to wait until the technology is in place to offer the vaccine passports electronically, using a scannable QR code. The premier promised that would be available later in October. 

"We should wait till technology catches up before they implement such a policy," Erjavec said. 

He also suggested governments offer some training for restaurant staff in de-escalation of tense situations with angry customers.

 

With files from CBC News: Compass

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