The government is cracking down on rule-breakers. On Wednesday, Health Minister Christian Dubé threatened fines of between $1,000 and $6,000 for anyone who visits a closed location in a Quebec red zone.
He underlined that those locations include gyms, restaurant dining rooms, bars, and movie theatres.
The minister's announcement comes after a tumultuous few days that saw a coalition of 200 Quebec gyms, fitness centres and studios plan to reopen on October 29, the day after the end of the first red-zone lockdown period, despite government orders.
There has also been some drama between the parties in the National Assembly this week.
In light of the gym owners' insistence on reopening, opposition leader Dominique Anglade on Tuesday said that the premier undermined "social peace" with what she called a lack of transparency about the government's COVID-19 response plan.
On Wednesday, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said Anglade's charge was "not responsible."
"It's all very well to want to play politics and then to want to score partisan points," she said.
"But I think that in the kind of context we're living in right now, in a health emergency, we must all act responsibly."
Multiple protesters still donned yellow stars, a symbol of the Holocaust, and one person held a sign that read, "It's not Auschwitz, it's Quebec." However, protesters did not block entry to the gym and clients were able to access their workouts freely.
Since I couldn't find the proof of vaccination QR code the government sent me after my doses, I re-downloaded it on Quebec.ca earlier in the day and saved a screenshot to my phone.
Upon passing through a turnstile at the entrance to the gym, I was greeted by an ÉconoFitness staff member who asked to see my QR code. She scanned it with the government's app, which she had on her phone, and a green checkmark appeared. The only information visible on her phone was my full name and the words "Certifié par le Gouvernement du Québec."
If your credential is not accepted, a red box pops up instead of a green one and there's a warning symbol instead of a checkmark.
"It was super simple, nothing against it," an ÉconoFitness member said to me, as he entered the gym.
According to Renaud Beaudry, Éconofitness vice-president, that was the general sentiment throughout the trial period, which ran from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
"So far it's going well. The application is very easy to use so it's user-friendly. The staff is understanding it very well [...] Most of [the members] had their QR codes ready for the test and — same thing for them — it was easy and user-friendly," Beaudry said. "The good news is we can keep the gyms open."
Alexander Dahl, whose technology company partnered with the government to create apps for this project, explained that the government will be releasing two apps: one for businesses and the other for individuals. The app for individuals is wallet-style so people can store multiple QR codes in one spot — useful, for example, for families.
But you can simply show your QR code or paper proof of vaccination if that's what you'd prefer.
Dahl said all data is encoded in the QR code and the apps do not connect to the internet.* No data is stored on the business user's device. He also said "Certifié par le Gouvernement du Québec" has the potential to change to certifications from other jurisdictions, potentially accommodating tourists.
Another pilot project took place at La Cage restaurant - Brasserie sportive de Lebourgneuf in Quebec City on August 11 and 12. Montreal bar Taverne Midway will also host a pilot project on August 20 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
While there's a myriad of possible reasons as to why Trudeau is ahead in the province, his handling of the pandemic could be the biggest. Among the Quebecers polled, 46% believed that health care is the most pressing issue in the upcoming election and 53% said the current prime minister "has performed well on pandemic management."
Politics and the Fourth Wave: As concern over COVID rises, are the Liberals poised to benefit?… https://t.co/znhujEMXZU
"We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Quebec publicly reject, as of now, the idea of a mandatory vaccination passport and that it commit itself to do like the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has done, that is to say, prohibit the obligation to present a vaccination passport in order to attend certain events and practice certain activities," the petition states.
Samson, a former Coalition Avenir Québec member who switched sides in June, held a press conference about the petition alongside Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime on August 12. They explained that the party had already collected 133,000 signatures on a previous petition that did not meet the criteria of the National Assembly.
"We reviewed the wording [...] So we're going to ask these hundreds of thousands of people to re-sign their petition on the National Assembly website, and we're going to invite Quebecers who don't agree with the vaccine passport to come forward as well," Samson said.
The petition, which was posted to the National Assembly website on August 12, had garnered more than 75,000 signatures at the time this article was published.