To say Max Johnson is eager to hear a boarding call is truly an understatement.
The tourism consultant and former travel agency owner has been sitting on his couch for 15 months. His business has dried up and he says he’s incredibly bored.
“I do not think so [there] are words to really put it. I’ve been here a long time and my life is travelling, and I’m anxious to get on a plane,” Johnson said.
The province announced on Tuesday that it would issue a vaccination card to residents two weeks after receiving a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That means Manitobans will be allowed to travel within the country without having to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return.
Johnson has seen his colleagues in the travel agency business forced to lay off staff as revenue plummeted.
“I think that proof of vaccination going forward is the only way to not only open up our local society, but certainly interprovincial and international mobility. and [to] To see Manitoba ahead of the curve was a surprise, I’ll admit, but an absolute delight,” Johnston told CBC News.
Johnson believes that a true immunization record will require massive coordination between the provinces and the federal government, as well as between the countries.
It’s a sentiment shared by the Winnipeg Airport Authority.
James Richardson International Airport has been a ghost terminal for months and the WAA welcomes the lifting of quarantine restrictions, but a credible pass will take time, says its vice president for communications and government relations.
“You need a system that works across Canada and then a system that works internationally. What we can’t do is have a number of different approaches to this — what we really need is a coordinated approach as a country, and Manitoba has to match that,” said WAA spokesman Tyler MacAfee.
The whole world is indeed a stage
Premier Brian Pallister on Tuesday alluded to more freedom that could come with being vaccinated: events like professional baseball, football and concerts.
“The sooner we can get as many people double-vaccinated as possible, the sooner we can bring some of those things like group events back into our lives,” Pallister said.
Booking tickets for a major concert at Bell MTS Place may require a little more planning.
A spokesman for True North Sports and Entertainment told CBC News it’s “too early for us to comment on how this might or might not integrate into our operations.”
Wade Miller was quicker down the field, where the news would take the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The football club’s president and CEO says QR-coded vaccination cards, available on smartphones, could be integrated with access to the Investors Group field, potentially pushing the team towards a mid-summer or August kick-off with fans in the stands .
“We’ll have to see how it works with the technology we’re currently using for ticket sales. But, you know, the ability for someone to just pull that up on their phone, well, I think that’s going to help,” Mueller said.
The Bomber president says he sees the US sports industry opening up venues to fans and hints from western Canadian political leaders about the same possibility.
“You see in Alberta where, you know, their premier came out and said we’re going to have full stadiums in August and some capacity in July. And the same in Saskatchewan. And, you know, we’re looking for that opportunity in Manitoba when the time comes,” Miller said.
One of the warnings not to get too effusive about vaccination certificates comes from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Some would like to be vaccinated, says Cara Zwibel from the association, but it is not possible for supply or medical reasons.
“We’re a bit concerned about this idea that people who are fully vaccinated are given certain rights when not everyone who wants to be fully vaccinated can,” Zwibel said.
The CCLA acknowledges that having a vaccination status related to self-isolation and travel could help adjust restrictions, but has concerns if it could affect people’s ability to go to a restaurant or grocery store, or go to the movies.
For tourism consultant Max Johnson, he says he would get a vaccination card tattooed on his arm if it would allow him to get on a plane and back to work.