A soup kitchen in Halifax intended to help the city’s most vulnerable will require individuals to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before entering its premises and accessing its services. 

Former department head of emergency medicine for Nova Scotia’s eastern zone Dr. Chris Milburn posted a photo of a sign at Hope Cottage on Facebook on Monday. Milburn said Hope Cottage used to be a place where people would come to sit and have a warm meal with no judgment or questions asked. 

“But now if you don’t happen to be carrying your vax pass on your 800$ smartphone, tough luck,” said Milburn. “What the hell are we doing?” 

According to the sign, there will be no exceptions to the vaccine policy. 

Programs and services for vulnerable populations that cannot be offered virtually are exempted from Nova Scotia’s vaccine passport system, except if meals are offered. Meals can only be provided through takeout or delivery to people who cannot show proof of vaccination. 

Hope Cottage confirmed in a statement emailed to True North on Wednesday that their sign exists and individuals entering its premises will be required to show proof of vaccination.

“We will be following provincial health protocols,” said Hope Cottage. 

Hope Cottage will be reopening for meal service on Nov. 1. The hours of operation will be 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m.

There will no longer be takeaway meals but sandwiches will be provided at the door for people who are unable to come inside for a meal. 

Nova Scotia implemented a vaccine passport system for non-essential activities for anyone 12 years old and up effective Oct. 4. The vaccine passport system applies to social activities that bring people together.

Other provinces do not require vaccine passports for soup kitchens. 

British Columbia’s vaccine passport policy does not apply to soup kitchens. Proof of vaccination is required for restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars and lounges. 

Ontario’s vaccine passport system does not require people to show proof of vaccination to enter soup kitchens. Instead, proof of vaccination has been mandated for restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments.