Confusion continues in the local business community when it comes to Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system.
The program allows businesses and venues to operate without capacity limits and other public health measures if they require proof of vaccination or a negative test result from anyone entering.
Retailers were removed from the list of eligible businesses over the weekend.
Reg Warkentin, policy and government relations manager with Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, said members are looking to the chamber for answers about possible remuneration for businesses losing customers, people with medical exemptions, employee vaccination, liability, and more.
“They’re doing the best with the information they have. There’s certainly lots of confusion and several grey areas,” Warkentin said.
There’s also lots of frustration that this burden was placed on businesses with very little time to prepare, he said.
The chamber is working on getting clarification from the province.
On Tuesday, representatives from chambers around Alberta took part in a conference call with the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation which will be working more closely with health officials to provide clearer guidance.
Warkentin said passports will at least allow businesses to continue to operate. But with close to 80 per cent of Albertans with one vaccine dose, that still leaves 20 per cent of the population unable to participate in society and patronize small, local businesses.
The passport system is better than wide-spread lockdowns, and it’s unfortunate it has come down to passports, but it is what it is now, he said.
“It’s a divisive issue for sure. But we just want to encourage people to remember it’s not the business’ choice. They don’t want to be asking for personal health information. They just want to make a living, support their families and support their staff.”
— with files from The Canadian Press