Alberta NDP calls for mandatory COVID vaccine rules for non-essential business

Alberta’s Opposition New Democrats are urging Premier Jason Kenney to bring in new rules to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for anyone attending non-essential businesses and mass gatherings.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley says the province should also return to mandatory masking for anyone entering essential places, including grocery stores.

Notley says it’s critical Kenney act to arrest rapidly rising infection rates and to protect hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Kenney’s United Conservative government has said it will not mandate proof of vaccination.

Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia and Quebec are phasing in or already have requirements for people to show a vaccine card, online image or smartphone verifications for many activities.

Notley says Alberta could do the same with a QR digital code that would be available on smartphones or downloadable online. She says Kenney needs to act or risk being left behind.

“Vaccine verification is coming to Alberta whether Jason Kenney likes it or not,” Notley said in a statement Thursday. “The UCP must follow other provinces and step up.”

“By providing Albertans with easy and secure access to their immunization records while establishing a verification standard for public settings, Albertans who are vaccinated can protect their neighbours and continue to do the things they love to do.”

Kenney told a Facebook audience Wednesday night that the key to solving COVID-19 is vaccination.

He said his government is considering more incentives to get people vaccinated, but is also considering renewed, targeted health measures, if necessary.

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