Calgary councillors attending a special meeting of city council on Wednesday afternoon will be asked to vote on a new COVID-19 bylaw that would make it mandatory for all eligible local businesses to opt into Alberta’s vaccine passport program.
The new bylaw would include (but not be limited to) restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, casinos, bingo halls and VLT lounges – all of which are eligible to opt into the province’s Restrictions Exception Program.
A slide shown in Calgary city council on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, shows which Calgary businesses would require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-test.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he feels the UCP’s refusal to use the term “vaccine passport” when speaking about the program is causing confusion.
He also said leaving it up to businesses to opt in or out has put them in a position where they can be targeted for their choice.
Right now, Calgary peace officers are unable to enforce the restrictions in the REP program, but passing a bylaw would give them the power to do so.
If passed, the bylaw would come with a $500 fine for people and/or businesses that don’t comply and would be effective as Thursday.During the meeting, it was noted the city is working on signage for businesses.
The meeting, which is being attended virtually, also discussed Calgary’s recently-launched COVID-19 Business Support Program, including a mobile vaccination program with five vehicles.
Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Chief Sue Henry said Wednesday that Calgary has 5,487 active COVID-19 cases, 300 per 100,000 people. Calgary has 262 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 64 in Calgary.
– With files from Jordan Kanygin