July 21, 2021

-Western Standard


Manitoba’s new immunization requirements put the responsibility on business owners and operators to verify vaccinations.

The Manitoba provincial government instituted a list of new rules and requirements for post-COVID-19 businesses openings. In order to enter most indoor establishments in Manitoba, people must now show individual scannable QR codes proving their vaccination record.

The Manitoba government website states: “The Manitoba Digital Immunization Card (or the physical card), which shows a QR code, is your proof of immunization for non-medical services.” To be eligible to receive a code, one must possess a Manitoba health card, have received all doses of an appropriate vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, etc.), and wait 14 days after the last immunization.

The new government orders will place the onus on the operators to ensure patrons are fully immunized and to implement the QR codes.

The orders read: “…the operator of the [establishment] must take reasonable measures to ensure compliance with the requirements of subsection 3 (capacity limits and social distancing requirements). Persons who claim to be fully immunized must provide proof that they are fully immunized.”

The following businesses fall under the new legislation to:

  • Restaurants
  • Retail businesses
  • Licensed premises, a.k.a., premises possessing a liquor service license issued under the Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis Control Act. (Manitoba also shows its Footloose roots by declaring “no dancing takes place in the licensed premises.”)
  • Social occasions functioning with permits under the Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis Act.
  • VLT’s, casinos, and gaming centres possessing a liquor license.
  • Horse racing and auto racing institutions.
  • Professional sports teams spectators.
  • Outdoor performing arts events.
  • Indoor concert halls and theatres.
  • Indoor museums and art galleries.

There are a surprising amount of businesses and entities not required to abide by the new requirements of immunization proof. The following seem to be exempt from the government’s new ruling:

  • Charities.
  • VLT’s, casinos, and gaming centres without a liquor license.
  • Personal services (spas, hair, nails, etc.).
  • Indoor recreational businesses (i.e. axe-throwing, escape rooms, trampolines, etc.)
  • Dance, theatre, and music schools.
  • Gym and fitness centres.
  • Indigenous cultural events both indoor (masks required under Sec. 34 of the order) and outdoor.
  • Places of worship (masks will be required under Sec. 34.)
  • Swimming pools, sporting, and recreational activities.
  • Outdoor museum and art galleries (not clearly specified.)
  • Post-secondary institutions.
  • Child care facilities.
  • Day camps.
  • Libraries.

Currently, immunization proof is required for most indoor activities such as sitting inside at a restaurant or seeing a movie, but not required or as strongly enforced for outdoor activities such as sitting on a patio together.

One problem with the system identified by some Manitoba residents is a lack of requirement to prove personal identification. One resident said “…they don’t ask for proof that my name is [what is says on the code], or anything. I could send it to all my friends and let them use it hypothetically.”

Another point of possible contention within the new orders are the seeming inconsistencies within the requirements for specific areas and the overall inconsistencies between what businesses will be effected by these mandates.

Businesses like museums and art galleries seem to be forced to abide by a complicated version of the orders. Immunization proof will be required for access to indoor showings, but vaccination requirements for outdoor showings aren’t specified under the order’s requirements.

The order only states outdoor museums and art galleries don’t have to abide by capacity limits, nothing about vaccine requirements to outdoor showings.