Essential services, such as health care, dental and grocery stores, not included in vaccine passport

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Published September 22, 2021 at 9:34 am

As of Wednesday (September 22), Ontario’s proof of vaccination mandate is now in effect, meaning residents must provide proof that they have been immunized against COVID-19 in order to enter and attend certain facilities and events.

“As of today Ontarians will need to provide proof of vaccination before entering certain high-risk settings,” Premier Doug Ford said in a press conference. “We can’t afford to shut down again or experience a sudden surge in cases, like we’re seeing in other parts of the country.”

In order to dine at restaurants; workout at gyms and fitness centres; attend live events, such as concerts, sporting events, and performances; go to the cinema; gamble at casinos and bingo halls; use meeting and event spaces; and visit strip clubs and bathhouses, proof of vaccination against the virus at least 14 days prior must be provided before entry will be permitted.

Essential services, such as health care settings, dental clinics, and grocery stores, are not included in the Province’s vaccine mandate.

Ford emphasized that this mandate is the best way to keep the economy running, and prevent future closures.

“The more people who roll up their sleeves and get the jab will help the economy and the province as a whole, and prevent another lockdown,” he said.

Those who are not eligible to receive the vaccine, as well as those who have a medical condition that prohibits them from getting it, are exempt from these requirements.

Businesses that do not adhere to these policies could be subject to fines, but Ford emphasized, during the initial stages, enforcement will focus on communication.

“Enforcement will lead with education, and will be reasonable to business owners. We will continue to rely on individuals to do the right thing,” he said.

Between September 22 and October 22, residents must provide their proof of vaccination in the form of a receipt, either physical or digital, that they can obtain online through the Province’s website, as well as a piece of government-issued ID that includes their name and date of birth.

On October 22, the Province intends to launch an app that will allow businesses to present a QR code residents can scan that provides their vaccination status immediately.

Ford also stressed that the Province won’t keep the mandate in effect any longer than what is considered absolutely necessary.

“We’re going to move forward with this, but I don’t want to do it a day longer than we need to,” he said.

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