The SAQ & SQDC Are Going To Require A Vaccine Passport

Dubé said he hopes it will be an "additional incentive" to get vaccinated.

Senior Editor
The SAQ & SQDC Are Going To Require A Vaccine Passport

As the Omicron variant continues to batter the province, Quebec is imposing a new restriction on unvaccinated residents. As of January 18, the provincial liquor and cannabis stores, the SAQ and the SQDC, will require customers to show their vaccine passports for entry.

Health Minister Christian Dubé made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday.

Previously, Quebec had designated both stores essential businesses. When the government first presented the vaccine passport system in July 2021, it said they would not be required for places offering essential services.

"I hope this will be an additional incentive for some to go get their first dose," the health minister said.

He said he knows that "the unvaccinated are displeased with this situation," but that "there's a very simple solution: it's to get vaccinated. It's free and it will protect you from the disease."

Quebec reported 15,874* new COVID-19 cases and a net increase of 203 hospitalizations on January 6.

Dubé cautioned, however, that the official count isn't capturing all cases in the province.

"As for cases, we know that they are underestimated and this will be even more true with the rules we announced about PCR tests." On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health decided to limit PCR tests to just a few priority groups. The general population now has to rely on rapid tests from pharmacies.

The Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS), meanwhile, projects that COVID-19 patients could occupy as many as 3,000 hospital beds within the next two weeks, "Well above the Level 3 [occupancy threshold] established by the MSSS and the thresholds observed during previous waves," the institute said.

Dubé admitted that the projection is alarming, but said it does not yet take into account the effects of the province's latest round of health measures, including the nightly curfew.

*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of new COVID-19 cases on January 6. It has been updated with the correct information.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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