Controversy About Quebec's Vaccine Passport Continues In Montreal
On September 1st, the Quebec government mandated all restaurants to adopt the vaccine passport and only allow doubly vaccinated clients inside their establishment to ensure the safety of all customers.
Several restaurant managers have expressed concern that business is plummeting as a result of the new vaccine passport regulations.
Restaurant manager Rosa, from Allo Mon Coco Decarie, disagrees with the vaccine passport due to freedom of choice and believes that it also violates customers’ privacy.“We want to stop the COVID, but at the same time, I feel it’s against the liberty and the freedom of every citizen,” Rosa said last week when asked her opinion on the vaccine passport.
The manager at Juliette et Chocolat Monkland, Tatiana, agreed with Rosa that the vaccine passport is not beneficial for the Quebec population. “I think it’s contradicting, in my opinion. I personally don’t have both my two doses, but I’m allowed to work here. So, I don’t know why our clients have to have two doses,” Tatiana expressed, while not wearing a mask during the interview. She added that she doesn’t feel unsafe not being fully vaccinated.
When asked if the COVID vaccine passport will prevent another lockdown with restaurants having to close, Tatiana indicated, “Honestly no… I don’t think it will prevent… another lockdown, obviously. I don’t think that it changes anything to do with isolating, to be honest.”
The controversy surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine passport in restaurants is evident in the different reactions of Montreal restaurant managers. For John Kolomvotos, the manager at Scores Lasalle, the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine passport is an excellent way to keep clients safe.
Kolomvotos disagrees with managers Rosa and Tatiana who do not believe in the passport. He stated:“It’s a good idea to make clients feel safe when they walk in.” Kolomvotos advocates that not only must clients be fully vaccinated, but so should all restaurant staff. “About 98 percent of the staff are vaccinated in my restaurant. Staff should be vaccinated. Then people will have a safer environment to eat,” added Kolomvotos when asked about his views on vaccination rules for restaurant staff.
Lily Harrison, manager at the Pigeon Café on Monkland, expressed mixed feelings regarding the vaccination passport. On one hand, she feels that it helps unite people and keep them safe at the same time. “I think it's a good idea in the sense that everybody needs to come together in order to stop the COVID.” On the other hand, Harrison doesn’t agree with the vaccine passport since only customers need to be fully vaccinated and not restaurant staff. For Harrison, this is unfair since it is a double standard. “I think it's a little sketchy for lack of better words. Although all of the staff here are double vaccinated, I just don't think that it makes any sense that you're
saying no to one set of people and yes to another so to me that makes the whole vaccination passport null and void,” Harrison added.
When asked about whether the vaccine passport would affect her restaurant negatively or positively, Harrison commented: “I think it will affect it negatively in the sense that it is closing off a group of people from entering the restaurant and being patrons here and spending money here. On the other hand, it does make the people who are vaccinated more comfortable, but on a financial business level, I think it will negatively affect us,” Harrison said.
Looking forward, some restaurant managers like Harrison and Kolomvotos agree that the federal government should take more initiative in educating restaurant staff on the vaccine passport. They also feel that the government has not provided enough funding and training for employers and employees. They need time to prepare, even before a grace period begins. “ I really think that the government gave us absolutely no option in this and they also did not give us any education on how to deal with it, nor did they give us the tools or extra money or manpower in order for someone in my restaurant to regulate it. Therefore, on that level, I disagree with the vaccination passport,” Harrison added.
“As long as measures are in place, we still need the government’s help to keep us open and survive the pandemic,” Kolomvotos argued.