It’s possible that New Brunswickers will have to prove they’ve
been vaccinated against COVID-19 to gain entry into some
businesses, according to the CEO of the Saint John Chamber
But David Duplisea acknowledges doing so “is a slippery
slope, ” that there’s lots to sort out from a “human rights and
legal standpoint, ” and there’s not enough clarity from
governments about exactly what businesses can and can’t
“Members are a little undecided [about vaccine passports],
because they don’t know if they’re allowed to demand that
their customers be vaccinated, ” Duplisea said. “So with a
vaccination passport of some kind, there will have to be a lot
of communication as to [whether] businesses are allowed to
request that their customers have the passport, or are they not
But he added that some businesses who are chamber
members want to do just that – “Proof of vaccination, or you’re
not coming into my establishment,” Duplisea said.
Last week, Quebec announced that if there’s a fourth COVID
wave in the fall, it could require proof of COVID vaccination as
a condition of entry to bars, gyms, and some other venues.
Government officials stressed that doing so would be
considered a last resort, but could prevent lockdowns being
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already acknowledged that
vaccine passports will be required for international travel, but
hasn’t yet suggested they’ll be needed anywhere else.
Premier Blaine Higgs recently told Brunswick News that
businesses have the right to ask for proof of vaccination, and
suggested mandatory vaccinations might be allowed in
workplaces where physical distancing isn’t possible.
Duplisea said demanding employees be vaccinated is a
nonstarter, but rapid testing them certainly isn’t. Four
chambers of commerce recently started handing out rapid
testing kits to interested businesses, and Duplisea said 900
have been sent out in Saint John.
And even though Higgs has given businesses the green light to
ask questions of employees and customers, Duplisea said
some chamber members still aren’t sure where they’ll legally
stand if they follow the premier’s advice.
If there’s no further clarification on the rules, Duplisea said,
“businesses will do what they need to do to open safely, and
continue to serve their customers.”