The region's top doctor is in favour of Premier Ford's decision to implement a proof of vaccination certificate, commonly referred to as a vaccine passport.
The measure comes into place on Wednesday, September 22, and will require Ontarians to show proof of vaccination before entering a number of establishments where the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is higher.
"I think this is good news. This is helpful in protecting the general population and preventing the spread and preventing new cases of COVID-19," said Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at the Northwestern Health Unit when speaking with the media yesterday.
The proof of vaccination certificate will be needed prior to entering the following places:
- Restaurants and bar (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishments);
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sports;
- Sporting events;
- Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments;
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas;
- Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs and;
- Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).
"The settings [the province] chose, are settings where individuals that are considered higher risks could make it easier to spread COVID-19," says Dr. Young Hoon noting that in these settings individuals come within two metres of one another or are exerting themselves, which could spread the virus easier.
"By limiting access to higher risk settings so those fully vaccinated, it protects our communities and our health care system. This measure will save lives and will help to keep our local businesses, workplaces and schools open," added Dr. Young Hoon.
After the Premier's announcement, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford noted the proof of vaccination certificate is critical to help Ontario avoid another lockdown.
"It's the primary motivation. Until our vaccination rates get to a level, say in the 90 per cent range, we need to implement [the proof of vaccination certificate]. The reality is we needed to step up to keep Ontarians safe and frankly to keep our economy open," said MPP Rickford in conversation with KenoraOnline and DrydenNow.
As of September 1, 83.73 per cent of eligible Ontarians, 12+, have received one dose of vaccine, with 77.05 per cent of the eligible population being considered fully immunized.