Timmins chamber hosts Q&A on enforcing COVID health rules
The Timmins Chamber of Commerce said it's receiving many calls from local businesses asking about the enforcement of vaccine passports and other COVID-19 health regulations.
The chamber held a virtual town hall meeting Thursday afternoon with officials from the Porcupine Health Unit, Timmins Police and the city's bylaw department to answer the many questions people have.
“It’s been a lot of trying to figure out things," said Jonathan St-Pierre, a co-owner of Full Beard Brewing, when it comes to staying on top of all the different rules that change frequently.
St-Pierre is one of dozens of Timmins business owners who tuned into the online question and answer session.
When it comes to businesses not abiding by the regulations, people were told to contact a bylaw officer.
“The only issue is that we have to have evidence," said Sherry Laneville, supervisor of enforcement services for the City of Timmins.
"We get a lot of complaints from people -- they’ll see something posted on Facebook and then are very upset that we’re not out there charging people, but that’s not the case. We can’t charge people just because they’re posting something on Facebook that possibly hasn’t happened yet."
So far, Timmins police said they've received less than a dozen enforcement-related calls.
“When something arises where someone doesn’t want to comply with the business owner ... Timmins police is there to answer those complaints and deal with them appropriately," said Insp. Darren Dinel.
The Porcupine Health Unit can also be called in to investigate a variety of situations. For example, it said businesses are required to verify vaccine proof with every client on every visit.
“The table beside me didn’t see me get carded at the door, then that prompts the visit either by ourselves or bylaw because we’re getting the concerns that this place isn’t following the rules, that kind of thing. Public perception is key," said Suzanne Lajoie, manager of environmental health for the Porcupine Health Unit.
Back at the brewery, St-Pierre said checking vaccination QR codes is quick and easy.
“I feel this is a lot easier," he said. "You don’t give a lot of information that you don’t really want to give sometimes.”
The brewery also asks customers to scan a QR code when they arrive to make the contact tracing process run smoother, as well.