Wide range of ‘essential services’ won’t be eligible for Alberta proof-of-vaccination program

Alberta’s government has clarified what businesses it considers essential services, and will therefore not be exempt from restrictions if they choose to opt in to the proof-of-vaccination program on Monday.

Starting Monday, non-essential businesses and services can choose to require proof of vaccination for customers. Those who opt out have to adhere to capacity and operating restrictions.

The list of eligible businesses, which includes restaurants, clubs, casinos and movie theatres, was originally set to include retail. 

But over the weekend, Alberta Health said that retail stores would no longer be eligible to participate — meaning even if they implement proof-of-vaccination, they’ll still be subject to capacity limits.

Businesses not eligible to participate in the restrictions exemption program now include:

  • Private events. 
  • Retail and shopping malls.
  • Food courts.
  • Health, personal and wellness services.
  • Libraries.
  • Workers at a worksite for the purpose of their employment.
  • K-12 schools, publicly funded post-secondary institutions and First Nation colleges.
  • Places of worship.
  • Hotels.

Masks will be required in all indoor public spaces, regardless of whether they are participating in the program.

Details on how the restriction exemption program will work are available on the government’s website.

The Alberta government launched its vaccine record website on Sunday, which allows people to save or print their COVID-19 immunization status by entering their health-care number, date of vaccination, and date of birth. 

However, the medium in which the vaccine records were made available — an insecure PDF rather than a QR code or app — has been subject to criticism.

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