- The proof of vaccination health order imposed by the Saskatchewan government to stop the spread of COVID-19 was lifted at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
- The enforcement and, in many cases, education of public health orders fell primarily on business owners.
The Saskatchewan government’s proof of vaccination health order, which was put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, was lifted at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
That means Saskatchewan residents are free to attend events, eat at restaurants and bars, and exercise without restriction.
Business owners who spoke with Global News expressed relief, not because they believe it is the right or wrong thing to do, but because it is one less thing they have to worry about.
Cierra Sieban-Shuback said, “We’ve been operating all through the pandemic, and we’ve gotten pretty used to pivoting our business as well as changing on the fly.”
“It’s honestly more ‘normal’ for us than anything else.”
Living Skies Cannabis, based in Saskatoon, is owned by Sieban-Shuback. She doesn’t have to check customers for proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test for the first time since October 1.
She says that customers have been confused because some believe the mask mandate is also being lifted.
But, on the whole, it’s been a peaceful day, which is a far cry from how it began.
“It just appeared like there was a lot of negative feedback.” Our employees have been subjected to a great deal of verbal abuse. “And that’s not fair because we’re just doing our jobs,” she explained.
Cannabis and liquor sales are already heavily regulated industries, and the province only announced the vaccine passport system’s application the days before it took effect.
Sieban-Shuback stated that she wants to provide safe service to her customers. She claims that having one less thing to think about help.
Business owners bore the brunt of the enforcement and, in many cases, education of public health orders.
“We had to become public servants and police officers overnight, which we didn’t have the skills for,” Sieban-Shuback told Global News.
“In some cases, smaller retailers had to close early or drastically reduce their operations since they didn’t have enough individuals to support that function,” said Jason Aebig, the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce CEO.
“Business owners are… caught in the middle here,” Aebig said, “and will always be a little wary of significant changes since it always has the danger of affecting at least a certain component of your client base.”
Colin Hall is a co-owner of the Regina yoga studio Bodhi Tree Yoga, which started checking clients’ vaccine statuses before the province mandated it.
He believes the provincial government removed the requirement too soon, claiming that proof of immunization was “one of those little things that made people feel more at ease at a time when the majority of us are feeling very uncomfortable and also unsettled about things.”
He is, however, following the province’s lead, telling Global News Morning Regina that his employees have been subjected to abuse.
According to Bill Flahr, president of the Nutana Legion in Saskatoon, employees will continue to ask for proof of vaccination.
Flahr told Global News that the members, mostly seniors, feel safer now that it’s in place.
He stated, “Quite a few of them have underlying conditions.” “Some people are extremely susceptible to COVID-19. As a result, we’re most of the time being extremely cautious.”
During their next membership meeting at the end of the month, he said, members will vote on how long to keep the measure in place.
However, maintaining it may be more difficult than 24 hours ago.
Premier Scott Moe said last week that if businesses and municipalities want to keep checking vaccine statuses, they should consult their lawyers.
In addition, the government’s vaccine status checker app is no longer available. According to the province, businesses using the app are being asked to remove it from their devices and replace it with other QR reader apps.
The province stated in a press release issued on Monday that the digital vaccine passports will be maintained so that people can provide them where they are needed outside of the province’s jurisdiction.
Source: Global News