Quebec is clamping down on its unvaccinated population with the imposition of a new vaccine passport scheme, which will see unvaccinated Quebecers who visit large stores like Walmart and Costco to require a chaperone.
The unvaccinated will have to be accompanied by employees to make sure they do not buy anything other than the products permitted by the government, such as food and pharmaceutical products. Everything else — including batteries, electronics, magazines, and cigarettes — are completely off-limits.
According to the CBC, the rule will apply to all supermarkets in the region, “to make sure they do not go and buy other products or other items that might be in the store.”
Unvaccinated Quebecers are being penalized in a systemic effort to encourage vaccination rates.
“In a bid to persuade COVID-19 vaccine holdouts to get the jab, Quebec has expanded the vaccine mandate to include all businesses with surface areas of 1,500 square metres or more — with the exception of groceries and pharmacies,” the CBC reported. “The province's health ministry released a ministerial decree detailing the parameters of the new directive Sunday night.”
“For pharmacies located in big-box stores, such as Walmart or Costco, an unvaccinated person must be “accompanied at all times during his or her travels by an employee of the business, the pharmacy or any other person mandated by them for this purpose,” the CBC added, citing the government order. “This person may not purchase products other than those related to the pharmaceutical service they are receiving.”
However, gas stations affiliated with supermarkets are exempt from the ruling.
"Some people are scared, some people are reluctant for other reasons, so sometimes they need a little push to get their vaccines," said Dr. Karl Weiss, chief of infectious diseases at Jewish General Hospital, in an interview with the CBC.
An outpouring of anger flooded social media following the decree’s imposition, which appears to be an effort to punish the unvaccinated for disobeying the government and not much else.
“As directed by the Government of Quebec, we will implement the vaccine passport at our stores in Quebec. We ask for our customer’s patience and understanding as we continue to ensure a safe and efficient customer experience,” stated Walmart Canada.
Earlier in January, Quebec became the first province in Canada to require proof of vaccination for cannabis and liquor shoppers, Rebel News reported.
The Quebec government has announced that the use of the vaccine passport will be used from January 18 in SAQ's (Société des alcools du Québec) as well as at the SQDC (Société québecoise du cannabis), the province's liquor and cannabis stores, as another measure to limit access to certain places for unvaccinated people.