A new vaccine requirement for Walmart locations in Quebec has prompted calls for a boycott among some Twitter users. 

The protests from those opposed to COVID vaccinations, known as anti-vaxxers, follow the Canadian province’s move to bar unvaccinated patrons from entering government-run liquor and cannabis stores and large retailers — part of efforts to persuade more people to get immunized. Some essential businesses are exempt. 

Walmart Canada sought to combat misinformation circulating on Twitter after #BoycottWalmart reached more than 17,000 mentions Tuesday morning. Some of the mentions were from those who support the restrictions or those mocking the calls for a boycott. 

“As directed by the government of Quebec, we will implement the vaccine passport at our stores in Quebec,” Walmart Canada said on Twitter, while asking for customers’ “patience and understanding.” Walmart also said that “some pictures on social media wrongly suggest that plexiglass dividers at some stores are to isolate non vaccinated customers. This is false. The dividers are for associates when they scan vaccine passports.” 

Restrictions on large retailers are the latest in a sweeping set of new regulations for the unvaccinated in Quebec, where hospitals are still reeling from a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. Hospitalizations have risen despite nearly 80 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated. On Jan. 7, one day after Quebec’s Health Minister Christian Dubé announced the restrictions, he said that first-dose vaccination appointments had quadrupled. 

Quebec’s Premier François Legault said on Jan. 11 that the Canadian province would begin imposing a health tax on residents who refused to get their first dose within the coming weeks. According to an Ipsos poll released yesterday, Canadians are split on how they feel about the measure. But support for the tax is stronger in Quebec, with 58 per cent of residents agreeing that there should be a tax for unvaccinated people, according to the poll.