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Sask. premier says businesses wanting their own proof of COVID-19 vaccination rules should 'consult their lawyer'


Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is telling businesses that want to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination once the provincial mandate expires to lawyer up.

On Tuesday, Moe announced Saskatchewan’s proof of vaccination policy will end on Valentine’s Day.

Without any public health order in place, Moe said there are no protections in place for businesses wanting to continue the practice.

“So if a business should want to consider a proof of vaccination or proof of negative test policy, my advice to them would be to consult their lawyer," Moe said during a news conference in Regina on Tuesday.

The change will ensure "unified access" to schools and businesses, Moe said.

Bill Barlas, owner of Filosophi, a restaurant that opened during the pandemic, was relieved to see the province announce the change.

“My reaction was, ‘Thank God we're seeing some progress here,’” Barlas said. “I think everybody -- each and every one of us, had enough of COVID.”

Barlas said he's happy to follow the lead of the provincial government, as he has been doing since Filosophi opened in December 2020.

“I don’t (feel) keeping these mandates in place will change the world anymore because I think whoever needed to be changed and vaccinated already got vaccinated,” Barlas said.

The longtime restaurant owner said introducing proof of vaccination requirements added little disruption to the business at the outset.

However, now Barlas isn’t worried about any customers who might stay home and avoid any possible interactions with unvaccinated people.

Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce CEO Jason Aebig said that concern is top of mind for many people.

“It may be a bit more challenging for some of the customers of these establishments who may have grown comfortable with the current approach,” Aebig said.

“It may take them a bit longer to transition to what was normal prior to 2019.”

Aebig noted customers unsure of the changing rules don’t need to dismiss their favourite businesses so quickly. Many businesses in a variety of sectors adapted, survived and thrived during the pandemic.

“As always, they are going to assess the risk that they're going to waive the feedback from their employees and customers and they're going to do what's required to ensure people feel safe and well served and come back for more,” he said.

A spokesperson from the provincial government said QR code and proof of vaccination records will remain available to Saskatchewan residents for use where needed. The SK Vax Verifier and SK Vax Wallet apps will also continue to be available “for the foreseeable future.”

According to Aebig, reverting back to rules in place prior to the proof of vaccination mandate last October means a business might not have the right to access a person’s private health record any longer.

“It basically eliminates that tool from the tool chest to us on a voluntary basis going forward,” Aebig said. Top Stories

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