Ontario to require proof of vaccination for bars, restaurants

People in Ontario will need to provide proof of vaccination to enter bars, restaurants, and other indoor public settings deemed to be high risk starting Sept. 22.

The new requirement will also cover nightclubs, meeting and event spaces, sports facilities and gyms, casinos, concerts, and theaters, among other places. Outdoor patios at bars and restaurants will not be included in the requirement.

People who wish to enter the establishments will need to show proof that they are at least 14 days beyond the second dose of their vaccine.

Government leaders say the new restrictions are necessary due to the fourth wave of COVID-19 driven by the Delta variant.

"Based on the latest evidence and best advice, COVID-19 vaccine certificates give us the best chance to slow the spread of this virus while helping us to avoid further lockdowns. If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please do so today," Premier Rob Ford said in a news release.

The City of Thunder Bay said the new requirement will imact some of its programs and services, and it’s still working on specific details to release to the public before the requirement takes effect.

"We will be reviewing the official regulations from the Ontario Government in detail to identify any changes to services. The City will comply with all provincial orders to help control the spread of COVID-19," Thunder Bay City Manager Norm Gale said in a news release.

Initially, residents will show a PDF or printout of the vaccination receipt they received when they got their COVID-19 shots, along with a government-issued piece of ID such as a photo health card or driver’s license.

The province is expected to launch a system in late October that will send everyone a QR code to accompany their vaccination receipt. It will also launch an app that will allow service providers to scan the QR codes as proof of vaccination.

Ontario’s vaccination requirement will not include children 11 or younger, or people who have a doctor’s note saying that they cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions.

Manitoba, British Columbia, and Quebec have also implemented some form of vaccine certificate program. Quebec’s requirement began Wednesday.