Barrie Chamber of Commerce, big-city mayors welcome vaccine certificate

Chamber says the way out of this pandemic is through vaccinations

The Greater Barrie Chamber of Commerce welcomes the province’s vaccine certificate system.

However, Executive Director Paul Markle says he hopes Premier Doug Ford’s words about this being temporary are true and there is not a need for something long-term.

“They’re kind of flying the plane while they are building it,” says Markle. “I expect there will be adjustments as we go along.”

He says businesses have been looking for some sort of consistency and some help.

“When you’re constantly called upon to be the bad guy in these situations, that gets tiresome, and especially as you’re trying to recover.”

He says the local chamber with close to 800 members, like the Ontario chamber, supports the implementation of a provincial vaccine certification, especially in the format the government has laid out that focuses on high-risk indoor settings.

There is concern, says Markle, there is still a kind of fractured, piecemeal situation. The chamber would like to see a federal plan that takes care of that.

“I think the way out of this (pandemic) is through vaccinations, and if this encourages vaccinations, then that’s something we are looking forward to.”

“We see this as a way to get away from lockdowns and further harm to the economy.

Ontario’s big-city mayors are also on board.

In a tweet, the group of municipal leaders, representing cities with nearly 70 per cent of Ontario’s population, said the program “will help combat the 4th wave of COVID.”

The OBCM, of which Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman is chair, said Ontario’s business communities, particularly small businesses, will need assistance with the new rules.

The mayors would also like to see a consistent policy regarding workplace requirements.

“Unvaccinated Ontarians have a 27-fold higher chance of being hospitalized with COVID than those who are vaccinated, and certification requirements can help reduce risk of spread and prevent lockdowns,” the OBCM said in a tweet.

In mid-August, the mayors jointly called on the Ford government to establish a vaccine certification system.

“The faster we can enact a proof of vaccination system, the faster we can protect more Ontarians from the effects of the Delta variant,” said Lehman, at the time.

“This will support the safe reopening of our economy and protect our residents