North Bay –

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and business owners in North Bay are fearing another lockdown.

“There’s only so much we can do and there’s only so much money put away for rainy days. Well, it’s been raining an awful long time,” said Pauline Brown, owner of Brown’s Antiques and Collectables.

Over at Pellerin Paints, owner Richard Pellerin told CTV News his business could survive another lockdown, but he’s worried many in the small business community can’t.

“There are so many small businesses that are affected. It hurts, it hurts a lot of small businesses. If there’s another lockdown a lot of them probably go under,” Pellerin said.

The Ford government said it will not consider implementing a vaccine passport because it will create a “split in society.”

The North Bay Chamber of Commerce said it wants what is best is for its members and would like the provincial government to rethink its decision.

“The vaccine certificate and the vaccine passport, the government has got to get its act together someway,” said Peter Chirico, the president and CEO of North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce. “I think it gives everybody a little bit more comfort, but it has to be consistent right across this country, not just across this province or this city.”

Brown is also asking the provincial government to reconsider its decision. She said many customers tell her they are fully vaccinated, but she wants to see proof.

“We really need people to have identification to say they’re vaccinated. There’s a lot of people going around saying they’re fully vaccinated. How do I know that they are,” Brown said. “They want to enter my store, I need to keep my doors open, I need to go home, I would like my family to be safe, and the only real way to do that is to have some verification that you’ve been vaccinated.”

The call for a vaccine certificate system is also being made by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and by Small Business Associations.