Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival will perform vaccine passport checks
The Hot Air Balloon Festival in Gatineau, Que. from across the Ottawa river at the Rockcliffe Lookout. (Michel Lanthier/CTV Viewer)
GATINEAU, QUE. -- Organizers of the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival say they will be checking the vaccination status of visitors through Quebec's vaccine passport system.
The festival begins Sept. 2, one day after Quebec's vaccine passport comes into effect, which will be required for accessing public events.
Organizers previously told CTV News Ottawa that enforcing the passports for such a large festival would be a logistical challenge.
In a statement on Tuesday, organizers said the policy must be applied.
"A vaccination passport check will be carried out at the gates and only properly vaccinated ticket holders will be allowed access to the site," festival organizers said. "A directive has been sent to all current ticket holders, informing them of the options available to those who will not be adequately protected against COVID-19 during the (festival)."
According to a spokesperson, visitors from Ontario should be able to attend so long as they are fully vaccinated.
“We understood from Minister Dubé during his press conference last week that the people from Ontario will be able to come if they are properly vaccinated,” said Michelle O’Neil, the festival’s director of communications.
More details about the logistics of the vaccination check are expected to be announced by provincial officials next week. The festival says it has secured the help of Gatineau police and private contractors to aid in the process.
"In collaboration with the Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau, as well as a private security firm, the (festival) is already working on a solution to ensure that adequately protected festival-goers are welcomed in a safe manner," organizers said.
Ticket holders who wish to be refunded because of the policy can fill out a form on the festival's website before Aug. 22.