Dear Mayor and Council:
Re: Municipal Vaccination Passport Program
We provide this correspondence from the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of our members. We would like to express concern relating to the potential city council decision to bring in a bylaw that would require a municipal proof of vaccination program to go into effect for public spaces and private enterprise.
Our members are facing a high degree of uncertainty and while many are supportive of lifting restrictions immediately, we know some believe it was too soon to end the Restrictions Exemption Program. We understand it is important for Council to explore all options and arrive at the best solution for Edmontonians given some difficult competing factors.
Having said this, businesses will once again navigate changes to restrictions—adjusting policies and procedures, communicating with and supporting front-line staff, and serving customers in a new environment. Edmonton City Council could delay the end of the Restrictions Exemption Program, but the result will add to the burden on businesses by requiring them to adjust to a change in restrictions again this week and then perhaps a short time later when the program is ended. It will also mean being temporarily out of step with surrounding municipalities and could have a negative impact on front-line staff with higher non-compliance in the interim. There is also the potential for businesses to lose revenue if customers choose to go to outlying areas.
Throughout the pandemic, the Edmonton Chamber has been consistent in supporting the implementation of responsible health and safety measures. These efforts enabled businesses to operate while protecting customers and workers and have helped our communities stay connected to their local businesses.
While each business is impacted differently, our hospitality, arts and culture, and tourism sectors are particularly hard hit. We have asked much of our front-line workers who have endured conflict and risk. We continue to advocate that all orders of government coordinate in providing businesses with the necessary supports. No sector has been unscathed by COVID-19 and we hope that city council will help to give local businesses the confidence and certainty they need to survive and reinvigorate in time for economic recovery.
We thank you for the engagement on this issue and respectfully ask that you keep the Restrictions Exemption program guidelines aligned with the provincial changes.
Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
President & CEO