Quebec will soon require individuals to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in order to buy alcohol or cannabis at government-funded stores.
Health Minister Christian Dubé announced the new measure during a press conference Thursday, saying that officials will determine a final date once all citizens have had the chance to get a third shot.
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“If the unvaccinated aren’t happy with this situation, there is a very simple solution at your disposal,” the minister said. “It is to get vaccinated. It’s free.”
Dubé argued that by limiting the places accessible to unvaccinated individuals, the government has limited their contacts and thus any risk of transmitting the virus.
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“If you don’t want to get vaccinated, stay home,” he added, echoing a similarly harsh tone expressed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated citizens of his country, but Dubé insists the goal is not to irritate the unvaccinated.
The restriction is part of an expansion of the vaccination passport system that will require three doses (including a booster) to qualify. The government currently has allowed access to booster shots for residents aged 50 or older, but officials plan to expand that access to all adults as of Jan. 17, CBC reported.
Crown corporations – which are government-funded or state-owned businesses – held talks with officials this week prior to the announcement, according to Société des alcohols du Québec (SAQ) spokesperson Yann Langlais Plante.
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Plante pledged that the organization will enforce the new mandates “as we have done with all other efforts deployed since the beginning of the pandemic,” according to CTV Montreal.
The requirement will also impact cannabis dispensaries operated by the Société Québécoise du cannabis (SQDC).
Quebec will also require a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. as part of expanded restrictions to curb new infections, The Washington Post reported.
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Opposition leader Dominique Anglade of the province’s Liberal Party accused the government of making decisions based on politics rather than science, claiming that the Legault administration has “lost control.”
“All of this is creating a lot of anxiety in the population, and François Legault is nowhere to be seen this week,” Anglade said after Legault did not appear during the Thursday press conference.