Concordia’s on-campus businesses call on the university to take a more active and efficient approach to the vaccine passport
Many people have voiced their anger and frustration with the vaccine passport since the Quebec government announced it on Aug. 10. Thousands took to the streets to protest, claiming that this enforcement is discriminatory and an infringement of a person’s rights.
The vaccine passport was first introduced on Sept.1 with a two-week grace period before implementing fines to business owners who refuse to comply. Since Sept. 15, the Quebec government has officially enforced a proof of vaccination for Quebecers aged 13 and over in order to access non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars, cafés, and gyms — even those located on school campuses.
Calvin Clarke, the general coordinator at the Hive Café Solidarity Co-op, feels like checking every customer’s vaccination passport is an unwarranted responsibility for him and his employees.
Clarke points out that dining places are one of the few areas where the vaccine passports are being checked on campus.
Vannina Maestracci, Concordia University spokesperson, has stated that the use of the vaccine passport on campus is to mirror its larger use in Quebec.
“Going to any restaurant in Quebec requires the use of the passport, and on campuses, this translates to a passport requirement for dining places; similarly, team sports in Quebec require a vaccination passport and so sports on campus also require the passport.”
However, the university indicates that classes, labs, studios, libraries and other course-related places do not require a passport because they are considered essential activities.
When asked how the vaccine passport has affected their clientele, Clarke said, “It’s been about 95 per cent of the people have been fine with it, but it’s definitely slowed us down business-wise, because it is an extra step we have to do.”
Clarke acknowledges that the vaccine passport is very important for everyone’s safety, but nonetheless still believes that imposing the responsibility of checking every student’s passport is a burden.
“I think it’s a very good thing to have. I do think that the university should take a more active approach, rather than relying on businesses within the campus having to deal with that because that puts a lot of strain on us.”
He urges the university to take better action in implementing stricter rules and says that Concordia could take a more supportive and active role without relying on on-campus businesses.
Sham Rahman, a member of the board at Reggies, agrees with Clarke and says that the vaccination passport hasn’t affected their clientele as much. Like Clarke, Rahman agrees that this extra step has made things slower for their employees.
“It takes a little toll because I have to have an extra person on each door to check the passports because I can’t have my bartenders or waitresses check all the time,“ Rahman said.
Rahman believes that this extra step is necessary for everyone’s safety; however, he does not think it’s efficient.
He suggested alternative methods the university could implement. Instead of scanning phones and asking for IDs, Rahman thinks a possible solution would be having an ID provided by the school, indicating that the student has been fully vaccinated.
So far these businesses both reported that they have yet to encounter problems with students refusing to show their vaccine passports.
Graphic by James Fay