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Restaurants and Diners Who Violate Quebec’s Vaccine Passport Mandate Face Hefty Fines

Those refusing to comply could be hit with fines between $1,000 and $6,000

Getty Images/Mint Images RF

Anyone violating Quebec’s vaccine passport requirement faces hefty fines starting today, as the province’s two-week grace period for adopting the measure comes to an end.

While proof of vaccination against COVID-19 became mandatory for accessing certain non-essential services — including restaurant dining rooms and bars — in Quebec on September 1, the province delayed issuing penalties for non-compliance until September 15, as Quebecers adjusted to the new regulation.

Since September 1, diners have had to present a QR code containing their vaccination status on paper, in a PDF on their smartphone or tablet, or via the VaxiCode app, along with a government-issued photo ID (for those aged 16 to 75) for indoor and outdoor dining. Takeout and drive-thru services are exempt from the requirement.

Businesses not enforcing the vaccine passport now risk fines of $1,000 to $6,000, or, in some cases, even being shut down. Restaurant and bar goers attempting to enter without adequate vaccination face similar fines.

In the two weeks since the measure went into effect, some Montreal restaurants have decided to abandon their reservation systems in an effort to simplify the entry process. Others, opposed to the idea of requiring patrons to produce their vaccination status, have voluntarily closed their dining areas and limited operations to takeout and delivery. Meanwhile, a small number of restaurant owners have stated that they plan to continue to welcome unvaccinated customers indoors — no matter the associated fines.

That said, the wave of Montreal restaurants and bars announcing their adoption of the vaccine passport on social media in late August and early September suggests that the vast majority have taken to the new protocol, albeit not without some expressing doubts.

Quebec has repeatedly described the measure as, on the one hand, an alternative to another months-long lockdown, as seen in March 2020, and again in October 2020, and on the other, a means of controlling the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Quebec health minister Christian Dubé tweeted data showing that the majority of the province’s new coronavirus hospitalization are among those who aren’t adequately vaccinated. In the same thread, he referred to the end of the vaccine passport grace period, and reminded Quebecers that, “It’s still possible to go and get your two doses.”

At the moment, 88 percent of the population eligible to be vaccinated in Quebec has received one dose, while 82 percent have been vaccinated with two.

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