Mandatory vaccines for some workers as Nova Scotia moves into Phase 5 reopening

Two men and a woman sit at desk behind a bank of microphones
Dr. Robert Strang provides COVID-19 update with Premier Tim Houston and Health Minister Michelle Thompson. Photo courtesy of Communications Nova Scotia.
Ed Halverson - QCCR/CJQC - LiverpoolNS | 30-09-2021
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Nova Scotia’s Phase 5 reopening plan will see social distancing and gathering limits lifted for businesses but will require healthcare workers and school employees to be vaccinated.

If those employees aren’t vaccinated by Nov. 30, they could be put on unpaid administrative leave and could eventually be fired.

In the technical briefing ahead of Wednesday’s COVID-19 update, Dr. Robert Strang stressed the importance of vaccination.

“If you’re caring for somebody, whether it’s in a hospital [or] long-term care facility, if you’re teaching somebody, who, because of their age can’t be vaccinated, you have an obligation to get vaccinated so you can do your job safely,” said Strang.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 4, anyone wishing to enter a non-essential business or activity will need to show proof of vaccination.

Those include full-service restaurants and bars, gyms or indoor sporting events.

People will not be asked to show proof of vaccination at essential services such as retail stores, banks, hair salons, doctor’s offices, hotels or faith services.

For a complete list of where proof of vaccination will or won’t be required, follow this link.

When asked if requiring proof of vaccination to fully participate in the reopening was a way to encourage more people to get vaccinated, Strang says that is not the intent of the regulations, but is a welcome side-effect.

“Right now, the way we look after each other or the main way in a pandemic, is to get vaccinated because that protects everyone else around us. I’m sorry if people don’t like that but you have an obligation to care for your neighbour. Care for the healthcare worker who’s going to be there for you if you get sick,” said Strang. “I won’t apologize for having to take these strong measures to get to the level of safety that we need to have.”

Nova Scotians who received their vaccinations in the province can obtain a copy of their record digitally by visiting the Nova Scotia government coronavirus web page.

That record will be updated Oct. 4 to include a QR code.

Businesses will be able to download an app on Oct. 22, which will read the code and simply show a green check or red X to indicate if a person is vaccinated without revealing any further personal information.

At Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, Premier Tim Houston took a decidedly different tone from past efforts to convince Nova Scotians to get vaccinated.

A man speaks into a microphone

Premier Tim Houston. Photo Communications Nova Scotia

After thanking the majority of Nova Scotians who have been vaccinated, Houston spoke to some of the 60,000 who are eligible but have yet to get their shots.

“Some of you don’t want to and I also know that you want to convince me that there is a reason not to get vaccinated. But let me be very clear, I don’t agree with you,” said Houston. “No matter how many YouTube videos or conspiracy theories from so-called experts that you send to me, we will not agree. Getting vaccinated is important. For the sake of those around you, please, please, get vaccinated.”

Twitter: @edwardhalverson

To listen to the broadcast of this story, press play below.