Nova Scotia announced on Wednesday that proof of full vaccination will be required to participate in non-essential activities starting October 4, such as going to restaurants, bars, concerts, movies and fitness facilities.
“This gives us the best chance of staying open, once we have opened,” said Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health.
“We don’t want to close the province anymore. “
Strang said the system would apply to people 12 and older who want to participate in “social activities that bring people together,” which is where COVID-19 “thrives.”
For children 11 and under, proof of vaccination will not be required as they are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Children who attend these events with a fully immunized person will be allowed to participate.
REMINDER: “Proof of Vaccination” for residents of Nova Scotia can be found at the link below. And Doctor Strang said today that you can show the screen as evidence … or print the full page or wallet size. This will be proof until they develop a digital option. https://t.co/CZ0DfTZlMg
Strang said proof of vaccination will help keep communities safe, ensure children and youth can attend school safely, and protect the healthcare system and its providers.
Strang and Prime Minister Tim Houston did not label the passport system vaccine – a measure introduced in other jurisdictions that has sparked a debate over privacy and personal freedom over public health. However, there does not appear to be a difference between a vaccine passport and the Nova Scotia policy announced on Wednesday.
“It’s a policy that will keep people safe, which is why we call it the Proof of Immunization Policy,” Houston said.
Strang said Nova Scotians can already show proof of vaccination through the CANImmunize app, either by showing the screen or by printing out the information. Until the province develops a digital option, CANImmunize will serve as evidence.
What other provinces are doing
Nova Scotia is following the lead of several other Canadian provinces and territories that have already implemented or are planning to deploy vaccine passports, including the Yukon, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Houston, who was elected prime minister on Aug. 17, said after his election he would turn to Strang and his team for advice on vaccine passports.
“It is not a decision that I am qualified to make,” he said on August 18. “I need the advice of the experts.”
Last month, a protest against vaccine passports took place in downtown Halifax and brought together around 100 people.
Province to reach Phase 5 reopening on September 15
Nova Scotia also announced Wednesday that it will enter phase five of its plan to reopen on September 15, when 75% of the population is expected to be fully immunized. Houston said on Wednesday that 72% of people had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Phase Five will see the elimination of mandatory interior masking requirements and physical distancing requirements.
Strang said masking will be encouraged and businesses and organizations will be encouraged to implement their own rules.
Strang said if cases increase in a certain area or setting, mandatory masking will be reintroduced.