Quebec may soon require COVID-19 vaccine passports to access liquor and cannabis stores

The Quebec government may soon require people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before buying alcohol at the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) or cannabis products at the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC).

“If the government goes in this direction, we will apply this sanitary measure — as we have done with all other efforts deployed since the beginning of the pandemic,” said SAQ spokesperson Yann Langlais Plante.

He notes the government has not issued an official decree, but confirms that the Crown corporations have been in talks with officials on the subject.

This would be the latest in a series of moves to slow transmission of COVID-19 — and the highly contagious Omicron variant in particular.

Nevertheless, the measure comes a little too late, according to infectious diseases specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton.

“It’s analogous to trying to put out a raging forest fire with a glass of water,” he said. “Unless the government has access to public health data that there have been a massive number of transmissions linked to SAQs or SQDCs, which I doubt, adding a measure like that now would not be expected to have any more than a minor impact.”

Oughton points out Quebec officials had enough data early on in December “warning of Omicron,” but it took weeks before any restrictions were put in place.

“That delay is now resulting in hospitalizations, ICU admission, shutdowns in elective procedures,” he said.

Tuesday, Quebec reported 21 more deaths due to the virus and 14,494 new recorded cases.

The province is currently under a second COVID-19 related curfew, starting at 10 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m. each day.

In addition, in-home gatherings have been prohibited.

Bars, casinos, restaurant dining rooms and more are closed and non-essential services cannot open on Sundays. 

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