People wanting to buy cannabis, or alcohol, from a storefront in Quebec will need to show proof of vaccination, after a new rule comes into effect later this month.
On Thursday, during an update on the current status of Covid in the province, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said that as of Jan. 18, people entering Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) stores will need to be vaccinated. The rule also applies to buying alcohol at public stores in the province.
But the rule changes don’t appear to affect delivery, which the SQDC offers. Mugglehead has reached out to the Crown corporation for confirmation.
Following the announcement, people took to social media to criticize the decision, saying that the restrictions would drive customers to the black market.
Wow. I’m as ‘pro vaccine’ as they come, but this is wrong. https://t.co/JZlUDNQFdc
— Trina Fraser (@trinafraser) January 5, 2022
They're making so much money off of cannabis sales! Why would they want to make it harder to access? Aren't they just sending ppl to the black market? 🤔
— ✨Seek only the truth✨ (@LaLun3) January 4, 2022
The move makes Quebec the second province to put these restrictions in place, following Saskatchewan in October.
Thursday’s news conference was also attended by vaccination campaign director Daniel Paré and Associate Deputy Health Minister Lucie Opatrny.
“I hope this will be an additional incentive for some to go get their first dose,” Dubé said. “The vaccination passport will be extended to certain non-essential businesses in the coming weeks and we’ll come back with a list after we have talked to industries.”
Dubé says the decision was necessary to protect unvaccinated people after the province ramps up efforts to slow the increase in hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant.
“We know cases are underestimated right now,” he said. “If you won’t get vaccinated, stay home.”
On the same day, Quebec reported 1,950 people were in the hospital, and the latest projections from the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) predict that more than 3,400 Quebecers could be hospitalized in the next two weeks.
Covid-related deaths rose by 26, and documented new cases hit 15,874.