Premier Doug Ford called for patience on Wednesday as Ontario’s vaccine passport system went into effect, while the province reported 463 new COVID-19 cases.
Ford told residents to respect the new verification program and be patient with businesses as they get used to the system.
“I know it can be tough for some, but the best we can do to survive the lockdown is for our businesses,” he said.
Starting Wednesday, patrons at dine-in restaurants, nightclubs, gyms, sporting facilities and other venues will be required to present a receipt of full vaccination along with government identification. Doctors’ notes will be accepted for medical exemption.
Fines are possible for businesses that do not comply with the checks required by the system, and patrons who provide false information. But businesses, subpoenas, police forces and the province say enforcement will soften at first.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, Ford said he knew it was a “divisive” issue, but said keeping the province open is essential in the coming months.
“We can’t afford to reopen or see a sudden jump in cases like we’re seeing elsewhere across the country,” Ford said.
“We will only use these certificates for as long as they are needed, and not more than a day.”
Vaccine website temporarily down on Wednesday morning
Early Wednesday, Ontario people trying to access the province’s website for proof of COVID-19 vaccine receipts received an error message.
The health ministry said the portal was temporarily closed in the morning due to “routine maintenance, not due to demand”. Weekly maintenance is scheduled from 11 p.m. to Wednesday 8 a.m. Tuesday and 11 p.m. to Sunday 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, has said that he believes the system will encourage vaccination, especially among people aged 20 to 39, as the team often visits locations covered by the program. goes to the.
look | Ford speaks about the new vaccine passport system:
According to the health ministry, since the system was announced on September 1, more than 259,000 first doses and over 338,000 second doses have been administered.
As of Tuesday evening, a total of 66,497 COVID-19 vaccine appointments have been booked since September 1, the ministry said. This figure does not include appointments booked through other channels such as pharmacies and local public health units, which use their own booking systems. noted.
Businesses have said they feel ready to implement the system but are unsure how patrons will react to it.
James Rillett, Central Canada’s vice president of Restaurants Canada, said restaurants are “as prepared as possible” but are expecting “some loss of business” and clashes with some patrons.
Ryan Mallow, senior director of Ontario affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said businesses have a “decent understanding” of what is needed, but “there is some stress and anxiety about what happens in a moment that doesn’t go smoothly.”
While locations will first have to check paper or digital vaccine receipts with identification, the province has said it aims to launch a QR code and verification app for businesses on October 22 to streamline the process.
Municipalities respond to new program
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown told Nation World News Network on Wednesday he is a supporter of the vaccine certificate program but is concerned about resource allocation for the city and is calling on the federal government for support.
“Starting today, we’re essentially putting this on the back of the bylaws and the police without any resources, so it’s going to be difficult,” Brown said.
But Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said her municipality is not anticipating pressure on its subpoenas with the vaccine program.
“We’re not seeing those degrees of call to Mississauga,” Crombie said. “Our small businesses welcome this initiative.”
“I think it’s the right thing to do. My council is behind it,” Crombie said. “I think at this point in time it protects our small businesses and protects everyone.”
Ford said Wednesday that the province has supported Brampton and other regions of the province during the pandemic and will continue to do so.
The premier was also asked on Wednesday about a report by the province’s fiscal watchdog that found Ontario did not spend any money from a new $2.7 billion COVID-19 response program in the first quarter, prompting critics to question it. Why did the government not use the money. during the third wave.
Ford said the report focused on a “timely snapshot”.
“Make no mistake about it, we’re going to spend every penny of what we got,” he said.
Ontario reports 7 more deaths linked to COVID-19
Meanwhile, Ontario on Wednesday reported 463 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths related to the disease.
Among the cases reported today with known vaccination status:
278, or 60 percent, were found in unvaccinated people.
21, or 4.5 percent, had a single dose.
131, or 28.2 percent, had two doses.
The seven-day rolling average is now 692.
Here are some other key pandemic indicators and statistics Daily provincial update of the Ministry of Health,
Tests completed in the last 24 hours: 39,092.
Provincial Test Positivity Rate: 1.8 percent.
Active Case: 5,851.
Patients with COVID-related illnesses in ICU: 187, of which 112 need ventilators to breathe.
Deaths: Seven, raising the official toll to 9,670.
vaccination: So far 21,475,030 doses have been given. About 85.3 percent of Ontarians 12 years of age or older have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 79.4 percent have received two doses.