Some businesses in Saskatchewan were asking for proof of vaccination long before the provincial government announced its plans to introduce the policy on Thursday.
Companies such as Regina-based Bodhi Tree Yoga made proof of vaccination mandatory for clients in July.
"You know if the government feels like they are taking some heat right now, I say welcome to the kitchen," said Colin Hall, the co-owner of Bodhi Tree Yoga. "We've been taking heat now for about three months with little to no support from the government, that kind of sheepishly drags along with us."
The government's proof of vaccination policy will come into effect on Oct. 1 and will apply to establishments, businesses and event venues, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said in a video released last week.
However, earlier in the summer, Moe and Health Minister Paul Merriman said that mandating vaccine passports would infringe on people's personal rights.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark expressed support for vaccination requirements last month. And the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic all recently introduced vaccine policies.
Hall said companies felt the lack of government support for the measures earlier on and that it gave trolls ammunition to come after their business — which they did.
Hall said he's relieved that the government has changed its approach, but he's not happy that it took so long.
"If it was me and I didn't do my job for that long, I would expect to be fired," he said.
The government should bolster public support for the move in order to make it easier for other companies to come on board, Hall said.
"They really need to be out in front of people in Saskatchewan, explaining why this is important," he said.
'The right call'
Regina-based Local Barre Fitness decided to implement a proof of vaccination policy just hours before the government announcement.
"As we watched the numbers in the province and each of our cities rise, we ultimately just knew it was the right call," said Stacy Simon, co-owner of Local Barre Fitness Regina.
She said the studio wanted to create a safe environment and the reaction from their customers has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.
"We just had floods of people happily coming to the front desk and happily showing us their vaccine card or their record," she said.
Simon said it's unfortunate that places like Bodhi Tree Yoga made the change earlier and received backlash. She said her business held off on the decision for a while, but when answers and support didn't come from elsewhere, they made the change.
She's hopeful the decision will keep people safe and help the business make it through the pandemic.