Restaurants, bars, gyms prepare for backlash when vaccine passports kick in Wednesday

Business owners are nervously awaiting the implementation of Ontario’s vaccine certification system, steeling themselves for logistical difficulties, extra costs and potential altercations with customers. The vaccine certification system will come into effect Sept. 22, although the province’s planned app won’t be in action for another month. Customers going to a gym, restaurant and a number of other non-essential venues will be required to show proof of vaccination — and proof they received their second dose at least 14 days earlier — on paper or on their phone, or provide an exemption document written by a doctor or registered nurse.The mandate will be harder to implement for some businesses than others, depending on the number of customers they see daily.Victoria Wickett, co-owner of Bomb Fitness, said it will be easier for client-based businesses like hers to deal with the vaccine certification mandate than restaurants, for example, which deal with a much higher volume of people.But navigating the vaccine certification system is “still a huge expense,” said Wickett.She thinks the government should have waited until the app was ready before implementing the vaccine mandate. “It’s a lot on our plate to ask for this,” she said. “It would have been nice if it was made a little bit easier.Ontario is building its own app in-house, an approach that has garnered some criticism. For the restaurant industry, the vaccine certification system is creating a lot of stress before it has even begun. The policy applies to all restaurants, bars and clubs, with the exception of outdoor patio areas, takeout and delivery.James Rilett, vice-president of Central Canada for Restaurants Canada, said there are a lot of unknowns for Ontario restaurateurs as Wednesday draws closer.“It’s just making people nervous,” he said, adding that restaurants are already getting backlash from people making reservations for later in the week, and are nervous about the online and in-person conflict they and their staff may have to deal with. Business owners are “pulling their hair out,” said Rilett.Not only will verifying the vaccine certificates be logistically difficult, restaurant owners are even more concerned about verifying exemptions. Rilett is convinced staff will encounter both fake vaccine certificates and fake exemption notes. Larry Isaacs, president of the Firkin Group of Pubs, doesn’t understand why the government didn’t wait until an app was available instead of making businesses manually check customers’ proof of vaccination or exemption notes.“We are not equipped to handle doctor’s notes,” said Isaacs. “This is ridiculous. … How are we supposed to determine if your doctor’s note is valid or (a) fraud?”Isaacs said his staff are already dealing with frustrated and angry customers. Julie Kwiecinski, director of provincial affairs for Ontario at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said business owners are concerned about the safety of their employees and themselves.“Many of them feel like the government is downloading the responsibility of ensuring people are vaccinated to businesses,” she said.Kwiecinski said simple government guidance, such as a “triage” sheet outlining how to deal with escalating customer situations, would go a long way to helping businesses and their employees deal with the unknowns to come. She said many business owners are concerned about incurring fines — both individuals and businesses can be fined for not complying with the rules — and she worries that some businesses could get in trouble by accident, such as if they fail to spot a fake vaccine exemption. Some business owners are hiring security staff to take care of the checking for them, said Rilett, so that restaurant staff aren’t on the front lines. Kwiecinski said businesses need clearer rules to avoid confusion, unnecessary fines and red tape as the vaccine certification system is put in place. Businesses with repeat clients, such as gyms or fitness studios, should be permitted to check a client’s vaccine certification just once, rather than each time they enter, Kwiecinski said. While the regulations don’t clearly address this issue, a Ministry of Health questions and answers document responding to this issue states that patrons must provide proof at point of entry, and that businesses can’t retain any information, including vaccination details provided by the patron. Rilett said the province’s app, scheduled to be implemented in another month, sounds like an easier and more secure way to go about vaccine certification. He thinks the government should have adopted another province’s app instead of making its own. Wickett said she’s not against mandating vaccines, but said the rollout in Ontario is “not ideal.”“I think it does add a level of reassurance for our members, so I don’t see it as a bad thing,” she said. “But ... the implementation of it is difficult.”Rosa Saba is a Toronto-based business reporter for the Star. Follow her on Twit

Restaurants, bars, gyms prepare for backlash when vaccine passports kick in Wednesday

Business owners are nervously awaiting the implementation of Ontario’s vaccine certification system, steeling themselves for logistical difficulties, extra costs and potential altercations with customers.

The vaccine certification system will come into effect Sept. 22, although the province’s planned app won’t be in action for another month. Customers going to a gym, restaurant and a number of other non-essential venues will be required to show proof of vaccination — and proof they received their second dose at least 14 days earlier — on paper or on their phone, or provide an exemption document written by a doctor or registered nurse.

The mandate will be harder to implement for some businesses than others, depending on the number of customers they see daily.

Victoria Wickett, co-owner of Bomb Fitness, said it will be easier for client-based businesses like hers to deal with the vaccine certification mandate than restaurants, for example, which deal with a much higher volume of people.

But navigating the vaccine certification system is “still a huge expense,” said Wickett.

She thinks the government should have waited until the app was ready before implementing the vaccine mandate.

“It’s a lot on our plate to ask for this,” she said. “It would have been nice if it was made a little bit easier.

Ontario is building its own app in-house, an approach that has garnered some criticism.

For the restaurant industry, the vaccine certification system is creating a lot of stress before it has even begun. The policy applies to all restaurants, bars and clubs, with the exception of outdoor patio areas, takeout and delivery.

James Rilett, vice-president of Central Canada for Restaurants Canada, said there are a lot of unknowns for Ontario restaurateurs as Wednesday draws closer.

“It’s just making people nervous,” he said, adding that restaurants are already getting backlash from people making reservations for later in the week, and are nervous about the online and in-person conflict they and their staff may have to deal with.

Business owners are “pulling their hair out,” said Rilett.

Not only will verifying the vaccine certificates be logistically difficult, restaurant owners are even more concerned about verifying exemptions. Rilett is convinced staff will encounter both fake vaccine certificates and fake exemption notes.

Larry Isaacs, president of the Firkin Group of Pubs, doesn’t understand why the government didn’t wait until an app was available instead of making businesses manually check customers’ proof of vaccination or exemption notes.

“We are not equipped to handle doctor’s notes,” said Isaacs. “This is ridiculous. … How are we supposed to determine if your doctor’s note is valid or (a) fraud?”

Isaacs said his staff are already dealing with frustrated and angry customers.

Julie Kwiecinski, director of provincial affairs for Ontario at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said business owners are concerned about the safety of their employees and themselves.

“Many of them feel like the government is downloading the responsibility of ensuring people are vaccinated to businesses,” she said.

Kwiecinski said simple government guidance, such as a “triage” sheet outlining how to deal with escalating customer situations, would go a long way to helping businesses and their employees deal with the unknowns to come.

She said many business owners are concerned about incurring fines — both individuals and businesses can be fined for not complying with the rules — and she worries that some businesses could get in trouble by accident, such as if they fail to spot a fake vaccine exemption.

Some business owners are hiring security staff to take care of the checking for them, said Rilett, so that restaurant staff aren’t on the front lines.

Kwiecinski said businesses need clearer rules to avoid confusion, unnecessary fines and red tape as the vaccine certification system is put in place.

Businesses with repeat clients, such as gyms or fitness studios, should be permitted to check a client’s vaccine certification just once, rather than each time they enter, Kwiecinski said.

While the regulations don’t clearly address this issue, a Ministry of Health questions and answers document responding to this issue states that patrons must provide proof at point of entry, and that businesses can’t retain any information, including vaccination details provided by the patron.

Rilett said the province’s app, scheduled to be implemented in another month, sounds like an easier and more secure way to go about vaccine certification. He thinks the government should have adopted another province’s app instead of making its own.

Wickett said she’s not against mandating vaccines, but said the rollout in Ontario is “not ideal.”

“I think it does add a level of reassurance for our members, so I don’t see it as a bad thing,” she said. “But ... the implementation of it is difficult.”

Rosa Saba is a Toronto-based business reporter for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rosajsaba

Source : Toronto Star More   

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North Texans Beat The Heat One More Day As Temps Hit 100; Cooler Weather On The Way

It may not feel like it, but fall is just around the corner, both on the calendar and in the forecast. But, on Monday, summer was still in full swing at Celebration Park in Allen.

North Texans Beat The Heat One More Day As Temps Hit 100; Cooler Weather On The Way

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — It may not feel like it, but fall is just around the corner, both on the calendar and in the forecast. But, on Monday, summer was still in full swing for some at Celebration Park in Allen.

“Well, it’s like the last splash pad that’s open, and she loves playing in the water, so we decided to come out here and play in the splash pad,” said Alysa Driggs of her daughter, Daisy.

“Give these kids a chance to get some last minute sun,” said father Phillip Ferran.

“We came out here to enjoy the splash pad one last time before it gets cold tomorrow,” said grandmother Rhonda Vela.

Labor Day may be the ‘unofficial end of summer,’ but both the Texas weather and calendar say otherwise. Fall becomes official on Wednesday, but a big break from Monday’s scorcher comes even sooner.

And while crisp mornings and lows in the 50s may spell the end of outdoor splashing, many are ready for the change.

“I’m looking for that cool weather to come through,” said Ferran. “The hot’s nice, but it’s time for it to cool down. Not get cold, just to cool down.”

Others said an endless summer is just fine with them. “Not ready for it to go. Not ready for this cold weather,” said mother Kristin Boone. “Absolutely not. I like summer,” said Vela.

Source : CBS Dallas More   

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