You may soon need to be vaccinated to buy liquor or cannabis in Quebec
Thus far, COVID-19 vaccination requirements have applied to broad public access, from indoor public spaces to international flights and public transit. Enter Quebec, Canada, where local officials are considering requiring vaccine passports to buy liquor and cannabis, local news outlets have reported.
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Although the Quebec government has not yet officially confirmed the proposed measure, more details are expected to be released this week regarding the addition of certain alcohol and cannabis businesses to the province's existing COVID-19 protocols in the wake of the omicron variant. The City of Montreal declared a local state of emergency in late December due to rising COVID-19 case numbers.
A vaccination passport has been required since September 2021 for all those age 13 and older to access all non-essential businesses throughout Quebec, including bars, restaurants, there's, casinos, places of worship and sports facilities.
But the vaccine passport requirement could soon be applied to those wishing to buy alcohol at Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) or cannabis products at the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC).
For reference, SAQ is the only liquor distributor in Quebec, with more than 400 stores, and SQDC is the only non-medical legal seller of cannabis in Quebec.
"SAQ has discussed the issue with the government," Linda Bouchard, a spokesperson for SAQ said via email. "If the authorities move in this direction, we will apply this measure."
Related: Canada urges citizens to avoid all nonessential international travel, just days before Christmas
Last week, the prime minister of Quebec temporarily closed indoor dining, in addition to announcing a 10 p.m. curfew and limiting private indoor gatherings to those within the same household. Non-essential businesses are closed on Sunday and indoor sports are suspended.
"The contagion is destabilizing our society," Quebec prime minister François Legault said in a statement on Dec. 30. "We simply cannot continue in this way. We must make a major change of direction to slow the contagion and do everything to restrict transmission."
Fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. are currently able to visit Canada, including for tourism. All travelers must provide results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to Canada.
Related: Canada entry restrictions will remain in place through Nov. 21