Although the province's proof-of-vaccination requirement is a 'great way to keep our businesses open,' the Atlantic vice-president for Restaurants Canada says restaurateurs could use some help with the costs that come with implementing it.
As of last Monday, anyone over the age of 12 that doesn't have a medical exemption or hasn't been granted a grace period that wants to access many non-essential services, including dining in restaurants, needs to show staff that they've been doubled dosed, along with a form of identification.
"It's a lot of work for the industry to have to be the cop on this government policy," Luc Erjavec told NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.
"There's a cost. It may be extra staff, it may be we're going to need scanners eventually, and some [restaurants] report a decline in sales."
The province plans to launch its own VaxCheckNS app next Friday, which will allow businesses to scan a customer's proof via a QR code. The aim is to speed up the process.
Erjavec said although the new policy comes with a loosening of some restrictions, including the ability to increase capacity, implementing it has only added an additional challenge to an industry still struggling to recover from COVID-19.
"I think there should be some recognition in terms of extra staffing costs, tax credits if we have to purchase equipment and scanners with this passport, I think that would be fair," he stated. "You can't expect an employee to use their own phone to start scanning these types of things, so the operator is going to have to purchase equipment."
In addition, some staff have also had to deal with an occasional customer angry about the new rule.
"The challenge is really a small, small minority who just takes some perverse pleasure out of berating staff, trying to create a scene, or just causing mayhem, which is really unfair to the restaurant operator," Erjavec explained.
"We're just doing our job, we're trying to host people, we're trying to keep our customers and staff safe, and you get a few people just causing mischief, causing trouble, it's just one more stress for us as an industry," he said.
Erjavec said carrying out the government order has been "bumpy to start" but the process is starting to smooth out.