There are now strict purchasing rules for unvaccinated people and those without a vaccination passport in Canada’s largest province, Quebec.
For large retail stores like Walmart or IKEA, shoppers without a vaccination passport “must be accompanied at all times by a store employee,” according to the Quebec Ministry of Health. This applies to everyone over the age of 13 and to all commercial businesses that are 1,500 square meters (16,146 square feet) or larger.
Unvaccinated customers can only access pharmacy services in larger stores and cannot buy any other products when accompanied by an employee, the ministry says.
However, groceries are allowed under the retail vaccine passport mandate that went into effect Jan. 24, the CBC reported.
This has sparked some public outrage and criticism on social media, especially for Walmart Canada on Twitter, where some users began using the hashtag #BoycottWalmart about the province’s new rules.
“In accordance with the instructions of the Government of Quebec, we will implement the vaccine passport in our stores in Quebec”, walmart Canada responded to a user’s tweet that included the hashtag #BoycottWalmart on January 24. The company repeated the statement several times in different publications.
Walmart also shared a photo of an employee standing on a plexiglass divider inside the store where vaccination passports are scanned, in an effort to refute misinformation on social media that suggested the dividers were used to isolate shoppers. unvaccinated in a tweet on January 25.
Unvaccinated people can enter retail businesses that “mainly” sell food, some areas of a shopping center, pharmacies and gas stations, according to the Ministry of Health.
They are not allowed to go to bars and restaurants, inside fast food outlets and shopping mall food courts where vaccination passports are required, the agency said.
The agency noted that “a vaccination passport is not required to access essential services such as education.”
Patrick Delisle, who is in charge of marketing for Canac’s hardware stores in Quebec, told the CBC that the company is “disappointed” by the new vaccine passport rules.
“First of all, we would have liked to be treated as an essential service, we have been essential since the beginning of the pandemic.”
In Quebec, 85.5% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to its government.
The complete list of places and activities that require proof of vaccinations in Quebec can be found here.