The province of Ontario will begin requiring vaccine certificates to access certain businesses and facilities beginning next week, Sept. 22.
The vaccine certificates will be required to enter high-risk indoor settings, like gyms and recreational facilities, meeting and event spaces, and restaurants and bars (excluding patios and takeout). Provincial officials clarified on Tuesday (Sept. 14) that the certificates will not be required for patrons entering an indoor area to us the washroom, pay for an order or access an outdoor area that can only be accessed indoors.
Locally, that means facilities like the Community and Recreation Centre, arenas and municipal halls will require vaccine certificates in order to be accessed, as the Municipality of West Nipissing clarified in a statement this week.
“In addition to this requirement, public health measures will remain in place at these facilities including daily health screening upon entry; mandatory face covering; physical distancing; and enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures,” read the notice.
If you want to attend anything from a Lynx game to a dinner at the local community centre in the coming months, you’ll need a vaccine certificate. That requirement will not apply to children under 12, who are currently ineligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
However, the vaccine certificate is only needed to access non-essential establishments. Essential services like the West Nipissing General Hospital now have a COVID-19 immunization policy in place for all staff, volunteers, visitors and caregivers. A certificate is not required for them to enter the hospital, but if they are unable to provide proof of vaccination, they will need to take an online e-learning course prepared by WNGH and test for COVID-19 up to three times per week (depending on how often they are on site at WNGH).
“Of course, this provincial direction is subject to change as the fourth wave of COVID-19 continues to develop,” said WNGH CEO Cynthia Desormiers in an email.
If you are fully vaccinated, you can download and print your vaccine receipt at covid19.ontariohealth.ca. If you’re unable to use the online service or have a red and white health card, contact the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit at 1-844-478-1400.