Some P.E.I. restaurant owners say they plan to work the front door to ease stress for staff as the province introduces its vaccination pass program this week.
The P.E.I. Vax Pass, which verifies the holder is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, will be required for entering restaurant dining rooms, along with a number of other public venues, starting Tuesday.
Mike Perry, owner of The Breakfast Spot in Summerside, said he'll be at the door himself on Tuesday, making sure potential patrons have a pass before he allows them to sit down.
"I don't want the servers to have to go through the stress of that," said Perry, adding that he's already seen problems around indoor masking rules.
"It is stressful. We have customers sometimes come in and just walk right to their seats without a mask and it just upsets the entire restaurant."
Dai Cao, owner of G&T Book Café in Summerside, expects problems initially so he'll be working the door himself as well.
"Of course, some people will be angry with me," said Cao.
"I think at the beginning it will be difficult, but we have to do it. We have to get along with this."
'The bar just keeps changing'
Carl Nicholson, president of the P.E.I. Restaurant Association, said implementation of the P.E.I. Vax Pass is frustrating.
Restaurant owners had been hoping that as vaccination rates climbed — 87 per cent of eligible Islanders are now vaccinated — pandemic restrictions would ease.
Instead, the province last week reintroduced testing at the border, and this week the vaccination pass kicks in.
"The bar just keeps changing," said Nicholson.
"I know the variant keeps changing so governments have had to adjust to that. So it's completely understandable, but it just becomes a roller coaster for operators."
There are still questions about how the pass will work, he said, and the provinces should be working to make the rules consistent so people understand what is expected when travelling.
Speaking on Island Morning, Premier Dennis King acknowledged that he expects some isolated issues with people not happy about the new rules, but he said overall he believes Islanders will accept them.
"Overall, the good nature of Islanders has carried us to here," said King.
"We have initiated safety measures like this all throughout the time of COVID and this seems to be the next one. There will be many questions but I think once tomorrow hits we will work our way through them one at a time."
In addition to restaurants, the P.E.I. Vax Pass will be required for sporting events, concerts, gyms and other public gatherings.