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Some Quebec businesses wary as VaxiCode QR code reader is disabled

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Quebec businesses can no longer use the government's VaxiCode app to verify whether customers are vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of March 12, the government dropped the requirement to show vaccine passports in gyms and restaurants in the province.

Several Quebec businesses, though, are still asking for proof of immunization.

They won't be able to use the verification app anymore, however. While users can still download VaxiCode on their phones, the QR code reader is no longer working. Instead, a message pops up saying the proof of vaccination verification has been disabled.

"That bothered me. It was a tool that I needed. Now that tool is gone," said Alan Gauthier of Athletica Lac Brome in Knowlton, Que.

Gauthier planned to continue to enforce mandatory vaccinations – and to keep using the government's app – in his gym.

He recently realized it's no longer an option.

"I was doing my daily ritual and one day it worked and then one day it didn't. There was no advisement to businesses, just 'oh my God, it's gone,'" he said.

Quebec's health ministry confirms it has removed the verification method and is asking businesses and customers to respect the current rules in place.

Some experts argue it's too early to drop vaccine passports.

"It's hard to relate scientifically what the reasons are to move forward on, at this point, given that the level of virus circulating in the population is very high," said Jorg Hermann-Fritz, a McGill University professor of microbiology and immunology.

Interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau acknowledged on Sunday that Quebec is likely heading into a sixth wave, but said there are no plans to reintroduce restrictions.

"My question to the government is, 'What's your future outlook come a possible new wave?'" said Hermann-Fritz.

Gauthier said he plans to continue asking for proof of immunization, even if the government doesn't require it.

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