Canadians not yet injected with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine now need to be accompanied by staff members when shopping at pharmacies for essential goods in the province of Quebec.
The new rule formed part of a decree issued by Quebec’s Health Minister Christian Dube on Sunday, Jan. 23. According to the decree, which took effect on Monday, Jan. 24, unvaccinated patrons who enter pharmacies with “a sales area of 1,500 square meters or more” located in giant retail centers like Costco and Walmart must “be accompanied at all times” by pharmacy employees or any other staff member mandated for this purpose.
Unvaccinated customers would be chaperoned by staff members while receiving a “pharmaceutical service” and are prohibited from buying products unrelated to the service they are set to receive. Dube’s measure effectively limited unvaccinated Canadians to purchasing only essential goods, such as food and medicine.
Meanwhile, Quebec’s vaccinated population is now required to show proof of vaccination alongside government-issued identification in order to enter large retailers.
According to the Daily Hive, Quebec Premier Francois Legault first announced the new measures during a Jan. 13 press conference. He mentioned that any store occupying more than 1,500 square meters of retail space would have to require vaccine passports as a condition for entry. (Related: Canada expands COVID-19 vaccine mandate, violates basic human rights.)
Dube, who was also present during the press briefing, said stores inside malls that fall under the space requirement are also included and must implement the vaccine passport requirement. “It’s simple: If it’s bigger than 1,500 square meters, they have to enforce it.”
Quebecois businesses react to the new measure
Businesses in the French-speaking Canadian province expressed frustration over the new measure. According to Quebec Retail Council, its member businesses had to scramble to move around schedules and put staff on their front doors to comply with the mandate.
Some Quebec companies claim the new mandate poses financial and customer service challenges. Quebecois hardware chain Canac says it will cost around CA$100,000 ($79,240) weekly to enforce the mandate in its 31 stores across the province.
Canac Marketing Director Patrick Delisle added that the hardware chain has dealt with more angry clients in the weeks nearing the vaccine mandate. “We’re just the messenger; it’s not us who decided to do it. We’re getting a lot of messages from people on social media pouring their hearts out – to put it politely,” he said.
Businessman Simon Gagnon, who owns a Sports Expert franchise in the southern Quebecois city of Sherbrooke, also expressed his frustration. The province’s labor shortage made hiring staff members a challenge, but the need to hire security guards and additional staff members poses a “colossal” hurdle for him.
Gagnon fears losing some of his customers. “What scares us is that instead of lining up, people will go shop somewhere else,” he said. The businessman added that he feels Quebec is “creating unfair competition” between larger retailers and smaller stores exempted from the rules.
More related stories:
- Quebec PM proposes to FORCE taxes on unvaccinated individuals.
- Canada is turning into a “COVID Police State,” warns constitutional lawyer.
- Quebec plans to push vaccine passports, citing the delta variant as justification.
- NO FOOD FOR YOU: New Brunswick, Canada, now allows grocery stores to ban unvaccinated shoppers.
Watch the video below of Legault announcing a proposal to levy taxes on the unvaccinated.