ontario vaccine passport

This is where you can go without a vaccine passport in Ontario

Where can you go without a vaccine passport in Ontario? Pretty much everywhere you would normally go throughout the course of a normal day, unless you go clubbing every night and eat exclusively inside restaurants.

I'm talking grocery stores, offices, salons, pharmacies, banks, churches, public washrooms... I could (and will) go on.

The point is that there's really no need for unvaccinated folks to kick up trouble over the provincial government's new regulations mandating that patrons show proof of vaccination and a valid piece of ID to enter "high risk" indoor spaces.

For the vast majority of people, barely anything changed when the rules took effect on Tuesday.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of all the places you can still go without needing to download or display your vaccine certificate, should you be unvaccinated or simply unwilling to pull out your personal deets.

Grocery stores

The province assured when announcing the vaccine passport program that the requirements would never apply to settings such as grocery stores, where people buy food, though indoor masking policies will continue to remain in place.

Restaurant patios

Vaccine passport rules do not apply to outdoor settings where the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is lower. This all includes patios, with the one exception of outdoor nightclubs. You're also exempt from showing proof if you only walk through an indoor restaurant to access a back patio.

Takeout joints

Entering a restaurant to order or pick up food is one of several activities in which patrons are exempted from showing their vaccine passports to staff. This includes coffee shops and fast food restaurants such as McDonald's and Taco Bell.

Medical clinics and pharmacies

Citizens do not need to show a proof-of-vaccination receipt to receive medical care or buy medical supplies in Ontario, though all other public health measures currently in place will continue.

Places in which you enter to use a restroom

Another surprising loophole on the government's list of vaccine passport exemptions applies to anyone who enters a restaurant, bar, cafe or anywhere else for the explicit purpose of using a bathroom, so long as you don't linger around afterward.


Literally, any public outdoor space is yours to discover. No vaccine passport required.

Retail stores

Not only can you enter and browse your favourite shops (while masked) without proving you've been inoculated, you can actually go into bars, restaurants, cinemas and other off-limits places for the express purpose of buying things.

The horse track

If you want to hang out at the track all day, you're going to need a vaxpass — but you can still walk right on in to place bets and then, if your bet is successful, to pick up any winnings.

Barber shops and salons

Many Ontarians were surprised to learn that hair salons and barber shops wouldn't be on the province's list of mandatory vaccine passport settings, considering how hard this industry was cracked down on for much of the pandemic. But no, you don't need to prove you're vaccinated to get your hair cut or your nails done.

Places of Worship

Under O. Reg. 364/20, people do not need to show vaccine passports to enter "the indoor premises of a meeting or event space that is located in a place of worship or in a funeral establishment, cemetery, crematorium or similar establishment that provides funeral, cemetery or cremation services and that is operated by a person licensed under the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002, for the purposes of attending a social gathering associated with a funeral service, rite or ceremony."

Literally anywhere if you're under the age of 12

Any patron of a restricted business who is under the age of 12 and ineligible for a vaccine obviously doesn't need to show proof-of-inoculation documents at the door. They don't have any.

Banks, private offices and anywhere else not listed below

If you're uncertain about whether or not you can go somewhere without showing proof that you've received at least two doses of a Health Canada-approved vaccine against COVID-19, you can refer to the following list of places in which the passport program applies.

If it's not on this list, you're likely good to go (though it never hurts to call ahead and ask a staff member first.)

  • Indoor areas of meeting and event spaces
  • Indoor and outdoor areas of food or drink establishments with dance facilities, including nightclubs and restoclubs and other similar establishments
  • Indoor areas of restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments without dance facilities
  • Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including waterparks, and personal fitness training (limited exceptions apply)
  • Indoor areas of casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments
  • Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres, and cinemas
  • Indoor areas of bathhouses, sex clubs and strip clubs
  • Indoor areas of horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues
  • Indoor areas where film and TV productions take place with studio
Lead photo by

Jason Cook

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