When Alberta’s vaccine passport system debuted, Heather Pedirny, operations manager for Calgary’s Dean’s House and River Cafe, said dealing with diners at the two restaurants was the easy part. Additional staff is required at the entrance to check visitors’ documents for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, but overall Ms Pedirny said lunch and dinner service is going smoothly .
Most diners carried identification and vaccination records on the first day of the vaccine passport system, he said, handing over documents as they were proceeding through a security clearance at an airport.
However, it is other events that the company does, such as weddings and other large gatherings, that are permitted under provincial rules and a more strict bylaw passed by Calgary’s city council and more in terms of what is required. Requires digging and understanding. .
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“While we now know the exact restrictions we need to follow as a restaurant, some things were not fully outlined,” Ms Pedirny said. “What about a wedding? What about a big party? We’re doing our best to educate our staff, update the manual, and what our best practices should be.”
Businesses across the province are grappling with the kinds of questions and logistical issues a week after Alberta introduced a vaccine passport system, which has been criticized for being overly complicated by relying on documents that are relatively easy to counterfeit .
Premier Jason Kenney, who has repeatedly rejected any vaccine passport system, succumbed earlier this month to skyrocketing infections that have filled intensive care units and are now taking a toll on the health care system. are.
The Alberta government offered businesses an option: implement a Restricted Rebate Program (REP), a system for verifying that customers have either been vaccinated or tested negative in the past 72 hours, or toughened Accept restrictions, including restrictions on indoor dining for restaurants and capacity limits on patios.
In Calgary, the city council approved a by-law that would make the vaccine passport system mandatory with no alternatives.
Evan Woolley, a city councilor whose ward includes the Beltline neighborhood and many of the city’s most prominent restaurants, said the new bylaw was designed to make things simpler.
“Everything has become so chaotic, and now we are behind the ball,” he said. “[The provincial government] With most businesses left to fend for themselves through all of this, we still don’t have a QR-code app. … the City of Calgary is now leaning to support and fill some of the shortcomings the province has seen in terms of implementation.”
The province is developing an electronic system that uses QR codes, which are expected in early October to verify vaccine status, but for now customers can access printouts from a government website or records obtained upon receipt of their shots. can do.
In addition to the bylaw, Mr. Woolley said the city of Calgary is about to release details on a $5 million grant program that will provide subsidies to eligible businesses that have incurred additional staff hours and other costs to ensure vaccines are proof and negative. -Testing rules are executed properly.
“This is to assist businesses in building the infrastructure to properly implement REP. I think the real challenge will be the cost of labor – the trend of having someone always stationed at the front door,” he explained.
The long-running Pizzeria Without Peppers faced criticism after it posted to social media last week that the restaurant intended to flout the bylaws, arguing in a series of posts on Instagram that the business should be using its Instead of respecting the right of the people to choose for themselves.
Mr. Woolley said the city would enforce the bye-law.
“I think it’s ridiculous for a business to take that position and I think they’ll see fewer customers coming through the door.” [because of it]“If people are reporting that they are not complying with the mandate, our deputy officers and our enforcement team will go and we will ticket them,” Mr. Woolley said.
Ships and anchors are regularly cited as an example in terms of health and safety standards throughout pandemics. The phrase “What will the ship do?” Food has become common in Calgary’s community, especially when new restrictions were introduced or old ones were dissolved.
“Telling customers what to expect from us has always been at the front of the mind,” said Samantha Baldwin, general manager of the pub. “It is really important that we get our message out there so that people don’t get confused here. If you set an example of being transparent and communicative, people look for that communication before they come to our place.”
She said several local restaurants reached out to her for guidance over the past 18 months. It’s not a situation he expected to be in, but he said he was proud that the restaurant’s transparency and proactive approach to everything related to the pandemic was recognized.
Even before last week’s AHS sanctions update, the ship had taken the initiative to require proof of vaccination for some incidents in its spaceflight.
“I think many of us in the industry got a lot of pushback from people during the first, second and third waves, even though we had no choice in implementation,” said Ms. Baldwin. “This time around, there has been nothing but support from the patrons, which has been very heartfelt.”
Following the REP’s announcement last week, the ship’s management team ordered all employees to be fully vaccinated to ensure the safety of their workforce as well as patrons. Almost all of their more than 80 employees have complied.
So, does Ms. Baldwin think we are reaching the light at the end of the tunnel?
“The new protocol has increased the number of people already vaccinated in Alberta, so one can only assume that things will look much better in the coming weeks.” “This is the closest to normal we can get at the moment and if REP results in creating a safe space for everyone to be able to gather over the holidays, I think we will eventually be in a good place.” But will be.”
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