Montreal restaurateurs, merchants, customers agree with vaccine passport

Though everyone the Montreal Gazette spoke to agreed with the measure, some business owners and employees questioned exactly how they’re supposed to enforce it.

Author of the article:

Jesse Feith  •  Montreal Gazette

“It doesn’t bother us when we’re given rules to follow, but when we’re left in the dark, we can’t police people,” says Brasserie 321 owner Sami Mohsni. Photo by Dave Sidaway /Montreal Gazette

With new COVID-19 infections starting to rise, Quebec announced this week it intends to soon implement a vaccination passport system to access certain non-essential businesses.

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Though the province has yet to detail how the measure will be applied, the goal is to slow the spread while limiting the restraints put on people who are fully vaccinated.

So far in Quebec, 84 per cent of people 12 and older have received at least one vaccine dose and 68 per cent are fully vaccinated.

On Friday, Health Minister Christian Dubé noted that the same day the province announced it will use the passports, twice as many people signed up for their first dose as in previous days.

A day after Quebec confirmed the plan, the Montreal Gazette spoke with merchants, restaurant owners and customers about the passport system.

Though all agreed with the measure, some questioned exactly how they’re supposed to enforce it. Here’s a brief overview of what they said.

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Denis Dufresne, owner of ChicSelect clothing store

It seems like a good thing, because it will incentivize people to get vaccinated. I think in an extreme case like the COVID-19 pandemic, our collective protection should trump individual liberties. It’s a situation that allows for it.

All of my customers have always worn their masks, so I would assume most are already vaccinated and it won’t be an issue.

If something needs to be done, I obviously prefer to require a passport than being closed down again.

“All of my customers have always worn their masks, so I would assume most are already vaccinated and it won’t be an issue,” says ChicSelect owner Denis Dufresne.
“All of my customers have always worn their masks, so I would assume most are already vaccinated and it won’t be an issue,” says ChicSelect owner Denis Dufresne. Photo by Dave Sidaway /Montreal Gazette

Sami Mohsni, manager at Brasserie 321

If the government sets clear rules, like they did at the beginning — distancing, masks, hand washing — we’ll follow them.

It doesn’t bother us when we’re given rules to follow, but when we’re left in the dark, we can’t police people. We’re restaurateurs, merchants — we can’t do it.

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And I do think it’s going to be complicated for us. We’ll be getting into very personal issues and maybe people won’t accept it. But if they say it takes a passport, we’ll apply it.

Ali Moussa, employee at Boutique Aladdin souvenir shop

I think it’s a good idea. Everybody should get vaccinated, and this will let some people go wherever they want as long as they have the passport.

The last year has been terrible. We were closed for three months and then when we reopened, there was the curfew. It was hard and there was no tourism, either.

So (the passport) is better because if we close down again, most of the shops will close.

Ali Moussa of Boutique Aladdin souvenir shop supports the idea of a vaccination passport “because if we close down again, most of the shops will close.”
Ali Moussa of Boutique Aladdin souvenir shop supports the idea of a vaccination passport “because if we close down again, most of the shops will close.” Photo by Dave Sidaway /Montreal Gazette

Dany Bergeron, owner of a Valentine fast food restaurant

I’m for it, because I think it’s important to continue moving forward through this pandemic and eventually move on to something else.

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But I’m not sure how it will work, especially here, where people come in and out very quickly. That’s what I need to figure out.

So I’m going to need to know more details, but I’m 100 per cent for it. Even if it means more work.

Paul Sandor, visiting from Ontario

I think it’s a reasonable move. It’s already in place when we cross borders to many places in the world, when you have to prove vaccination against yellow fever and some others. So this is not a very big stretch.

I certainly believe the rights of one person have to be balanced against the rights of many. If someone does not wish to be vaccinated, that’s fine, but they should do it in such a way that they’re not endangering other people.

I would feel more safe if I know everybody else in the restaurant has already been vaccinated and can prove it.

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David Lesbarrères, visiting from Ontario

I think some people will be upset because it will impact their freedom, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea until we get full control of this pandemic.

From a business perspective, I could see some restaurants finding it challenging because they’re going to need to police it, and it will be difficult to say no to some customers and yes to other customers. But in general, I think it’s a good idea.

I come from France, where you don’t show identification anywhere. In Canada, you already need to show ID at a bar for your age, so having another piece of paper to prove that I’m vaccinated? I’m fine with it.

jfeith@postmedia.com

More On This Topic

  1. Legault announces Quebec will move ahead with vaccination passport

  2. Health-care workers wait to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the next batch of clients at the Bill Durnan Arena in Montreal on March 10, 2021.

    Quebec considering vaccine mandate for health workers amid rise in COVID infections

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