The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce has released the results of its recent survey on vaccine passports and COVID-19 safety passports.
Members were asked to share their input on topics including vaccine verification protocols, current safety protocols and considerations if a fourth wave of COVID-19 were to trigger more restrictive measures.
When asked about if vaccine passports should be mandatory, 43% of the respondents feel that a vaccine passport or certificate should be mandatory. Almost an equal amount of respondents at 41% expressed that a proof of vaccination should not be required to enter businesses and public places in the province. While 11% of the survey indicated that proof of a vaccine should be made on a voluntary basis.
CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Steve McLellan says because there was a such a split in the vote, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce would not be taking a position for or against the idea of vaccine passports. “It’s a conversation that has gone across the country and different business groups have different opinions on it, so we wanted to know what our members thought, and our members have told us very clearly that this is not the time where there would be unanimous agreement for or against it. ”
McLellan noted the split was interesting to see that a lower amount feel the proof of a vaccine should be made voluntary. “It’s not totally surprising simply because in conversation with people we have found it to be a complex issue and you can talk to ten people and they’ll give you twelve different reasons for their perspective for or against vaccines. So it’s a personal choice and we applaud that of course, but the reality is that Saskatchewan businesses have a variety of opinions and we’re going to honour them.”
Another question that was asked on the survey, was if businesses were currently enforcing any COVID-19 protocols. 34% answered that staff and clients were required to follow certain COVID-19 protocols. 12% replied that only staff was required to follow protocols. 23% responded that staff and clients are not required to comply with the guidelines but are encouraged to do so. 31% acknowledged that they have removed all COVID-19 protocols.
McLellan believes even when the pandemic does come to an end, we will likely see measures such as hand sanitizer place in the front of businesses and masks being worn in large and small places continue. He added that these measures will not only protect people with COVID-19, but will also help shield individuals from illnesses such as the flu.
The final question that was asked in the survey was if there was a 4th wave of COVID-19 and the government reinstates COVID-19 protocols and a lockdown what would your response be? 26% answered that they would require a proof of vaccination, another 26% replied that they would reduce the capacity inside of their business. 19% were unsure on what their response would be. 4% answered that they would temporarily close down and 25% would perform none of the answers that were provided.
McLellan said the stance from the businesses hasn’t changed in regards to this question. “People are watching the data, they are watching the number of people who have become infected, and we’re hopeful. Everybody wants the whole COVID situation behind us, but they’re watching with great interest on the numbers and we’re still very confident our provincial government has led us in the right direction, our health advice has been spot on and we’ll get through this. It’s a moving, fluid situation clearly, we’re in a much better situation than a year ago the science is cleaner and clearer and we’re applying that, there are some decisions to be made, but I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
The survey was conducted last week. McLellan added the Chamber will take another survey from the business community in the near future but does not have a confirmed date yet.