Local businesses affected differently by vaccine passports

    The Government of New Brunswick now requires proof of vaccination at most non-essential businesses as of Sept. 21. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    The New Brunswick provincial government now requires customers to show proof of vaccination at restaurants, pubs, gyms and other indoor non-essential services as of Sept. 21. This measure was implemented after a single case count of 63 new COVID-19 cases was announced in the province last week.

    Uwe Kuester, who owns The Schnitzel Parlour with his wife, Beate, said he is already seeing people cancel their reservations.

    “[A group of customers] told me ‘to be honest, we cancelled because we have members in our family [who] are not vaccinated,'” he said. “Which of course is hurting the business, especially a small one like ours.”

    The Schnitzel Parlour has 25 seats and is mostly visited by families, meaning they depend on the cooperation of their customers to keep the business afloat. But, Kuester knows there are people who refuse to get the vaccine.

    Still, even if the business struggles, Kuester is glad that showing vaccination cards is mandatory because now “people know what to expect” and it’s a security measure for his customers, himself and his wife.

    “I have an underlying critical illness and I was scared for over a year,” Kuester said. “To be honest, I don’t have a problem at all with the new regulation, even if it has its downsides.”

    But not all local businesses are affected by the new regulation. Patrick Hanson, manager of The Cellar, the University of New Brunswick campus pub, said most of his regulars are fully-vaccinated students, so a decrease in customers is highly unlikely.

    Hanson said students are required to be fully vaccinated or tested regularly as part of UNB and STU’s policy.

    “Most of the regulations have been placed on small businesses while the large corporations have had little placed on them,” said Hanson.

    According to the Government of New Brunswick, it’s up to the staff to ensure the vaccination status of the customers, along with their government-issued ID. Failure to do so will lead businesses to a fine ranging from $172.50 to $772.50 or having their licenses removed.

    “I believe the government has been fairly clear on how the new regulations will be enforced,” said Hanson.

    For Kuester, this regulation will prevent New Brunswick from having another lockdown, which would be detrimental for businesses, but it also ensures the safety of everyone.

    “Trust in the science … show a little bit more respect to the people around you and especially think of the people who cannot be protected,” said Kuester.